Thursday, January 30, 2020

Three things on Thursday

Here are three things that I can show you without too much trouble on my part, as they are all right here in my flat.

A hyacinth! I am a sucker for these bulb-in-a-pot things you can get in the grocery store. They are cheap and cheerful, and a hyacinth will also make your home smell like a spring garden!

This one drooped over and this is actually an aerial view, looking down onto the carpet.

Part of the list of instructions from the landlords included how to water the plants. This baby gets a small bit of water every other Sunday. (I felt kind of bad watering it on the Tuesday one week. Will the orchid mind?)

So excited to see that flower opening! Usually I kill an orchid pretty quickly. Lots more buds there so this is going to be long-term entertainment.

Actual knitting content: I have finished the front of my sweater! Two sleeves, with bobbles but no travelling cables, coming right up. Then I get to do a big wide ribbed turtleneck, so hold on to your hats.

In other news, I went out this morning for a swim: picked up a share bike, rode over the Burrard Street bridge (which seems flat to walk over, but indeed it is not flat), had a bit of trouble parking the share bike; went in to the Aquatic Centre, swam 400 meters which is a dawdle for an Olympian but for me it is quite enough; took the bus back home! Now I have had a bite of lunch and think I should run the dishwasher, throw a load in the washer, knit a sleeve, finish a jigsaw puzzle... Some of that will get done, I am sure.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I miss the little free museums

In Cambridge, there were probably a dozen free museums or more, from the giant Fitzwilliam to the wee Classical museum filled with plaster casts (which I am appalled to say I never blogged about!). Here in Vancouver, we don't go in for that sort of thing apparently, and a day out in a museum can cost quite a bit.

Yesterday Stephen and I were out at the university to have lunch with an old friend, and afterwards we went to explore the Museum of Anthropology, with its amazing collection of Coast Salish and other artefacts. We took the free tour, which was excellent, but of course selective, and then didn't really have time to go back and look at everything. I think we will have to go again, maybe when someone comes to visit.

There was not a lot of textile work on display, but this was in the main hall: a modern piece by some local Musqueam artists.

"I could knit that," she says.

The museum had a huge donation from the family of Walter Koerner, including a rather marvellous collection of European ceramics. Of course, a pot shaped like a cabbage, with a companion parrot pitcher, is right up my alley.

The main claim to fame of the museum is its collection of West Coast First Nations art. These are a few potlatch bowls.

They would be filled with food for the great gatherings, to show off one's wealth, and also just to feed a hundred people at once.

I'd say this was more than life-sized. 

A house-pole, I believe. Look at that lovely snake!

Bill Reid was a modern Haida carver, with a rather interesting life-story. He became very well known in the 1980s, making a large war canoe for the opening ceremonies of Expo 86 and making this magnificent sculpture of the Raven and the First Men.

Somewhere in someone's house is a copy of this that my dad made in his carving days!

Today it is pouring with rain, yet again. "January rain brings February flowers," we must remember.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Sweater progress

I brought three projects with me, and am plugging along with my Kureyon pullover. The back is done, and the front well under way.

I had a wee crisis when I thought I would not have enough yarn for the whole sweater. I had 13 balls of yarn when I started, but noticed after a while that some of them were, at most, half-balls. This problem was easily overcome by going to a yarn shop and buying five more! So now I am confident that I can do the full big neck, proper long sleeves, whatever is needed.

I just need to ease into a brighter ball for the front, because the back is so lively and the front, so far, pretty dull!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A week in Vancouver

We have been here almost a week. We have taken a gazillion pictures of the view out our front window.

Fresh snow on the mountains when they peek out from the clouds
We have walked up to Fourth Ave, the groovy main drag near here. When we lived near here in the early 80s, Fourth Ave still had a bit of a hippie cachet about it, left over from when it was the centre of the action in the 60s. There is a bead store, and the record store we bought our New Wave records at is still there, but there are a lot of sushi restaurants and chic clothing stores. And so many new buildings! A lot can happen in 35 years, even more in 50 or 60!

I have also discovered two of the places we used to live. The Aquarius apartment building, still with the gold writing on the door:

This was our first apartment, a basement place "under the Greeks." I think we lived there for 2 years! And the house is still the same, though there used to be a grapevine above our door, from which the landlord made wine that tasted like Welch's grape juice.

Phew, I think that might be enough exploring down Memory Lane! We had lived in Cambridge before, but then we had been adults, with kids. We left Vancouver in our mid-20s, and along with these things we remember from those days, there are also streets I know from when my mom drove me to swimming lessons when I was 12. Different!

Today we went somewhere I think I have been once before in my life, White Rock. I remembered nothing at all about it.

We were visiting a friend who has moved here from Toronto. She has a house with a view, close to the water, and we went for fish & chips for lunch and then walked along the waterfront and out on the pier.

If you click the picture to embiggen, you can see sea lions on the right-hand side, amongst all the birds. There were a dozen of them, as well as some harbour seals. Apparently a bunch of small fish came in to White Rock, lots died, and the birds and seals are enjoying a bit of a feast.

Tomorrow we hope to go for a walk, but it might be cold or wet or snowy, so we might not. We are very delicate now that we live in Vancouver, it seems!

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Another term, another city

We are in Vancouver! We had Christmas at home with the kids, sent them off back to university, and came to BC to avoid the Ontario winter; to see if we want to move here when Stephen retires; and so Stephen can do stuff at UBC.

We found another great flat -- owned by a retired professor who flees the rain of Vancouver for Santa Barbara, California every winter.

And indeed it was pretty grim for the first day or two! We know there are mountains over there, but the cloud was so low we could see nothing.

This morning, though, the clouds lifted, and the view was marvellous. We are on the top floor of a low-rise building, and on a hill so we peer over top of the buildings across the street.

The flat is very nice, quite huge. The landlords are both artists so the place is full of their paintings. I'll show you some highlights over the next little while.

The gloomy weather, however, provides warm moisture for the plants. Buds! Green things! We are a bit excited about the fact that spring is just around the corner.

I even saw this today, on a south-facing slope by the beach: 

Believe it or not....

Tomorrow's explorations will involve finding a yarn shop, because my thrift store supply of yarn will not be quite enough for this sweater. This is almost 3 of my 13 balls, maybe half of the back. 

More is more! All the colours! Bobbles and cables!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Here we are in the 20s

It's 2020. That is crazy! We are apparently well into the 21st century.

I have a plan or two for this year, mainly driven by the fact that Stephen is still on sabbatical and we will be living in Vancouver, BC for the first few months of the year.

When we were in England we travelled around quite a bit. In Vancouver, we will probably go visit Stephen's mom in Victoria, and maybe go see my family later in the spring when there is less likelihood of weather-related problems at the airport. There might be a bit of travel for Stephen's work, but we're not anticipating much of that. I think I'll be happy walking down to the beach and looking at the mountains!

I am planning another walk in England this May, so I have to walk around Vancouver to practise. Maybe even in the rain!

Knitting-wise, I have started a sweater from a 1986 Vogue Knitting magazine, with some Kureyon I was lucky enough to find in a charity shop! I have thirteen balls, so I might have to buy one or two more to finish this, but since I have several colourways already it won't matter if I have to throw another in.

That should keep me busy for a month or two. I will also take with me a mitten I was working on in 2016. The yarn is similar to that I used in the Starflake this fall, so I might take the leftovers from that, too, and when I am done the mittens I can make a giant wrap!

That all seems a bit ambitious. Nah, a sweater and one and a half mittens, and a fun and colourful rectangle, how can that be too ambitious for three or four months?

I did finish my Geology shawl, with its dang counting and remembering and so on:

So, I have a sort of plan till April or May. September should bring us back to "normal," but with two kids with minds of their own, who knows what might be normal. Playing it by ear in 2020!