Friday, 31 December 2010


A simple one for 2011. Will be very disappointed if I can't manage it.

And it goes hand in hand with the more challenging self-imposed knitting resolution.....I will be endeavouring to knit 11 sweaters in 2011, egged on/supported by two of my colleagues at the yarn store....we've each set out own guidelines, mine are:
a) 'Sweater' can be a jumper, cardigan or tanktop, either adult or baby sized.
b) To count they need to be finished and wearable in 2011. They may have been cast on already (in fact two already have).
c) Each completed item needs to be blogged here - ideally with photos, if the recipient decides to model all the better.
Think that'll do it, don't want to restrict myself too much....if anyone has any requests let me know (Mum - you're already on the list!)

Happy New Year to one and all, hope 2011 is a happy, healthy, hoppity one for all. xxx

Looking back at 2010

Thats another year done then.

Apparently that counts as a full reivew of the year in Paul's book, lazy man.
Lets see.....ten achievements in 2010, in no particular order and probably missing out the really important ones as I just write down what comes into my pretty little head.

Numero Uno - Paul's highlight of the year has been canoe-camping, in fact he stood in Canadian Tyre this morning looking at canoes and thankfully registered that $700 is a lot to spend on a whim. He is right though, we have indeed had some fantabulous times on our canoe-camp trips this year. From getting stuck on beaver dams, to swimsuit stealing geese, to early morning misty cuppas as the loons call - fab fab fab.

Deux - It took over a year, but I finally overcame my fear of driving on the wrong side of the road and got back behind the wheel. After a brief practise in Gatineau, I followed this up with an epic road trip with the parental ships to:

Numero Trois - Niagara Falls. Its big, and wet, and I loved it.

Number 4. Our relationship survived skating. Paul loves it. He loves it on the rink up the road, playing hockey with his science-tician friends. He loves it on the canal clocking up the kms and building up speed.
I can stand up on skates.
And have just about mastered not swearing at the people I care about whilst doing so. Despite this contrast in our feelings for the frozen water, we are still going strong. Hoorah.

Part e - Food food food. This year we have eaten well. Which isn't really much different to the other years, except that the proportion of this food that I have cooked has dramatically increased. My culinary skills are definitely improving, and the melted spatula I rustled up last week was a wonder to behold.

Six - Craftilicious. Despite the numbness of my elbows on many occasions this year, my crafting has gone from strength to strength. Whether it be the sweaters sported by the men in my life, or the felt robins adorning the dining room walls, there are not many days this year when I have got through without playing with the needles or scissors. More to follow next year I'm sure.

Sieben - Visitors. This year we were host to family visitors with my parents here in September and Steve in October. Both groups have mentioned possible return visits so we can't have been atrocious hosts. Dad and I survived an attack by a viscious snake with no permenant damage except to our pride. Mum single-handedly devoured two of the biggest ribs I've ever born witness to. And Steve got to wear plaid up a mountain. Good times were had by all.

Number the eight - We are taking over Ottawa one jam sandwich at a time. Truth be told we only seem to be making headway at brainwashing the non-Canadians in our lives, but between the marshmallows, jam-sandwiches, beans on toast and Christmas pudding - conquer them we will. (Why are so many of our achievements this year food related?!)

El Nino - Wildlife spotting. This year has been a good'un. I spent three days in May impressing my fellow bird-watchers with my spotting skills - "theres one, theres another", which they then identified. One of my happiest days was spent chasing Monarch's around Presqu'ile with Mum and Dad.
The encounter with the friendly Grey Jay in Quebec was another of the highlights of the year, together with the brief encounter with the elusive Fisher.
From Jasper's point of view, you can't beat a good squirrel spot however.

Ten-Dix-X - Time with friends. We've decorated cookies; cooked pancakes on camp fires; watched mounties ride in musical formation; played boule in the sunshine; solved murders; picnicked in the snow and countless other activities this year - and all with fab friends. Hoorah for them.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas is coming.... fact its almost here. Due to unforeseen overuse of the internet I have been a little quiet on here of late. Seems watching 8 hours of TV online sucks up that bandwidth - who knew! Anyway, wanted to share some festive cheer with a couple of piccies from recent weeks.
We started off at the European-Union run Carol Concert at the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was beautiful inside....the concert was slightly marred by lots of people wandering round during the service in efforts to find better seats - PUT YOUR BOTTOM ON A CHAIR AND STAY IN IT! (Breath Amy, Breath). A wide variety of Carols from around Europe sung very nicely, and some excellent people watching opportunities (spotted two sleepers and some fantastic bow-tie wearing) made for a nice start to the festivities however.

On to Paul's Christmas Work do, preempted by an afternoon of cookie decorating with Betsy and Michael. Betsy's beautiful sugar cookies were subject to a variety of artistic approaches. I chose a minimalist styling (which, though they looked gorgeous to an adult eye, do not appeal to children due to lack of sprinkles):
Paul spent some time exploring different textures:

The peak of our Christmas ventures so far was our annual trip to the Capital City Chorus Christmas Concert (well, our second trip anyway).

I love barbershop. Paul loves barbershop. We love barbershop - there, we've said it loud and proud. Adding to our festive favourites (Visa Visa; Head of hair; The drummer boy etc) was a stunning performance by the Canterbury School Choir whose latin piece in particular was breathtaking.....A very festive evening indeedy.

Right, a cup of tea is calling so I will stop rambling on for now. More piccies (mainly of snowy scenes) on flickr in a mo.....

Merry Christmas everybody. xxx

Thursday, 2 December 2010

A robin away keeps the toothache away....

2010 is the year of the Robin (in my head). December 2010 is make a robin month (in my head).
December 1st - This is Ruben. He likes bowling and drinking coke. He currently lives on our mantlepiece. When you are suffering with hideous toothache after a root canal and you feel like you want scream/pull your tooth out/punch the wall, he is especially good at....erm.....sitting on the mantlepiece not being any help what-so-ever.

But he's cute.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Winter is coming....

....the squirrels are getting fat.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Intrepid Amy.....

Its 10:30pm, which in Amy time is past bedtime. I'm wearing my pyjamas (snoopy, red flannel - nice) and have just dropped 'Canine Mystery Stories' and snuggled down to sleep. I hear the bins outside rattling and my eyes spring open - raccoon?

I love raccoons, something about their masked little faces appeals to me (must be the dark eyes!). But I know that most of the rest of Canada thinks of them as vermin, and also that they shouldn't be cornered as they'll protect themselves.

So, I am torn between wanting to get a photo of the nocturnal visitor in action, and wanting to stay tucked up in bed. The bins rattle again, loudly. Maybe there'll be more than one. I'm feeling brave. I pull on my wellies (present from my sister, fruit printed all over), and a head-torch, grab my camera and head out the door.

I creep out to the balcony, trying to keep quiet but there is a reason cat-burglars don't wear wellies. The bin rattles again...

I make it down to the yard and the bin rolls on the floor - it must be in there. I sneak round to the end and peer in (brave aren't I?). The wind gusts up adding to the atmosphere and the bin rolls again....I crouch down to sneak a peek. Its dark in there. I take a step moves again and I squeal - yes, squeal. I am not proud, but nor am I surprised by this response....

As one of my neighbours pulls into the parking area behind me, the headlights shine into the bin and I realise it is empty. At this moment the wind blows again and the bin rolls away from me.

Yes, the bin was being blown around in the wind. And I am standing in the back yard in my Red Flannel Snoopy pyjamas, wearing fruity wellies and a headtorch.

With a sigh, I turn and wave at my neighbour, secure the bin and walk up the stairs with my head held high. I never intended to adopt the 'eccentric batty english-woman' persona, but somehow thats how I always end up coming across. Ho hum.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Mystery Book Box Challenge.....

We wandered back up for the last hour of the Rockcliffe School Book Fayre last night, intent on half-price bargain pickings. Jasper and I waited in the park for Paul as I find self-restraint much easier if I'm not in the room with the books.....As a reward for my patience Paul returned with this treat:

$1.50 worth of mystery mystery books to keep me going through the cold winter nights. Carrying the bounty home again we endeavoured to guess what treats the box contained, and came up with the 'Mystery Book Box Challenge'. Ten Categories, closest guess wins....winner gets, erm....the title of 'Mystery Book Box Challenge Champion' - a prestigious title indeed. Maybe I'll make a rosette.

Anyway, in the interests of fairness I am recording the guesses here to avoid arguments later:

Total No. of books: Paul - 12 Amy J - 10
Total of Agatha Christies: Paul - 3 Amy J - 1
Total of Kathy Reichs: Paul - 2 Amy J - 0
Total bodycount: Paul - 36 Amy J - 15
Total different modus operandi: Paul - 12 Amy J - 8
No. of characters called James: Paul - 7 Amy J - 4
Total Amy has read before: Paul - 3 Amy J - 2
Total anonymous tip-offs: Paul - 2 Amy J - 4
Total characters murdered by spouse: Paul - 3 Amy J - 4
Total No. of butlers: Paul - 3 Amy J - 3

This will be an ongoing challenge, but on opening the box we got the counts for several categories:

Both woefully underestimated the number of books - 33, should keep me busy. With 1 Agatha Christie, 0 Kathy Reichs and 3 I'd read before, our current score is 2 all....exciting stuff isn't it? I'm halfway through my first book and the bodycount is 2, both strangled with one butler.....the race is on.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sunday evenings.... did you spend yours?

No, don't tell me. Baking blue-cheese-biscuit farm animals for scientists to munch on Mondays, whilst listening to Ethiopian Jazz? No? Wierd.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Has anyone seen my turkey?

I would like to refer you to this post from April....and in particular the scientific measurements:
"I now weigh the same as
20,618 Ruby Throated Hummingbirds
or 687 Blue Jays
or 52 Mallards
or 8 Wild Turkeys."

Yesterday I returned to the museum to reweigh myself after two weeks of my new strict diet - cake, lobster, fried wontons and more cake.

Drum roll please.......(you'd better be drumming on the table people)...
I now weigh:
16, 997 Ruby Throated Hummingbirds,
or 567 Blue Jays
or 42 Mallards
or 7 Wild Turkeys.

Pick your jaws up off the floor please. Yes it is an amazing achievement. Now if we take into account that I (embarrassingly for Steve) took off my shoes and jumper to ensure I minimised the impact of winter clothing on the hummingbird quota - I still am not sure where I have lost a turkey. These birds are enormous. You can sneeze and lose a hummingbird, you can train for a 10k and lose a couple of bluejays - but a turkey? I am beginning to wonder if I have had a limb amputated in the last 7 months and noone let me know....

Anyway, I celebrated by eating a large slice of cake and deep frying some more wontons - its not that I like this food, but the numbers don't lie, this diet is working!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sometimes.... wake up in a cabin up a mountain, the logfire still burning from last night, and find several inches of snow. As you hike down to find a diner for breakfast, a friendly Grey Jay follows you and makes it clear that he's hungry too.....

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Its fall don't you know...

....and I haven't blogged in far too long. But I have jumped in puddles wearing wellies and kicked leaves in the air, and pulled faces like this one. Life is good.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Urban knitting....

Onto the second sleeve, 12 days til Dad arrives.....

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Wildlife spots....

I finally got behind the wheel today, and drove us into Gatineau Park for a picnic, lake swim and short hike. Lovely jubbly day and on the wander back to the car we spotted a Fisher. It was a clear view but all too brief so no photos. Our 'Mammals of Ontario' book has this to say though:

" For the lucky naturalist, meeting a wild Fisher is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The rest of us must content ourselves with the knowledge that this reclusive animal remains a top predator in coniferous wildlands."

Ooh-la-la. Knitting on the beach (sleeve one almost done); lake swimming with vultures soaring above and a once-in-a-lifetime spot - hooray for Sunny Saturdays.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Mental note No. 357

If you are going to get away with an afternoon nap without your partner finding out, it is not sufficient to make the bed again afterwards. You should also turn over the pillow so the pool of drool you woke up in cannot be seen.

Mental Note no. 358
I have been informed that it is also courteous to drool on your own pillow and not your boyfriends.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

A trip out with your neighbour to the Spa Nordik.

Spending four hours wandering between the Swedish Sauna, lovely warm pool, ice cold pool, even lovelier warmer pool, Steam room, and toasting your toes sat in a lounger by the open fire.

Feeling the cold rain on your face as you massage your back on the bubble streams in the warm water and watch the waterfall.

Spotting a rainbow forming as patches of blue sky appear intime for sunset. Then managing to see a couple of stars before the clouds come back.

What's wrong with the picture? Yep, nothing. Apart from the lack of pictures.

Smug? Moi?!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


It is one year today since we arrived in Canada - ONE WHOLE YEAR!

And I spent our anniversary:
* taking Jasper to the vets for a teeth cleaning;
* having a picnic on the island, watching the herons prowl around in the reeds and trying to make sure Paul made it back to work rather than falling asleep in the sunshine;
* having tea and scones with a knitting buddy - who brought round delicious homemade tomato sauce;
* eating homemade pizza with good friends;
* stretching and relaxing at yoga class as the clouds turned pink outside;
* watching The Thick Of It and knitting.....

Life is good and lots more to look forward to. In the coming week we have exciting musical developments and in the next couple of months visits from both our families too - busy busy and lots more fun. Heres to another very happy year to come. x

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Oops, behind again....

Eek, its the 26th already and I'm behind on posting again. Another bulletpoint of recent events is called for....
* We ventured off to Toronto for a weekend of music and swimming in lakes. The concert, organised by Broken Social Scene, featured Paul's chance to reminisce his teenage years with a sunset performance by Pavement. The venue was Toronto Islands so we got to paddle our feet in the lake and watch the evening light over the city skyline.

The concert was rubbishly organised, and bizarrely they confiscated all food, blankets and frisbees on the way in - security risks or a way to get you into the hour + queues for munchies on site?

On the way home again we diverted to Sandbanks Provincial Park for sunbathing, swimming in Lake Ontario and running down sand dunes. Lovely jubbly. It takes some getting used to that the water isn't salty, I still pulled sourpuss face everytime I got a mouthful as my brain could not accept the freshness.

* I have started training almost properly for my 10km back in England in July....eek, July as in the month that starts on Thursday - eek!

* I also finally cycled to the Wildlife Garden for volunteering this week - hooray! A saving of $5 on bus fair, a lovely 45 minutes by the canal and some more exercise. Bonus. I planted 8 trees this week and saw a fox, well worthwhile.

* We attended our first evening at the Jazz festival - see Paul's detailed review below, but here is a glimpse of the Keytar in all its glory: (much better without sound I assure you!)

Where’s the jazz? The three faces of Herbie Hancock.

Headed over to the Ottawa Jazz Festival last night for some good times with Herbie Hancock… almost. A fine venue in Confederation Park: free camp chairs, local Beau’s beer, a cool evening and a great atmosphere. We caught, sadly, only the end of the Mike Essoudry Octet who sounded very fine and would have been a fine way to enjoy some time in the park.

The main event, Herbie Hancock, was certainly interesting… I previously knew two faces of Herbie: the old-skool experimental jazzer, playing beautiful soaring piano pieces, and the 70’s jazz-funk wah-wah stuff. I was hoping for more of the former, but ready to experience a bit of the latter too. But wait, there is a new face to Herbie. I don’t know what happened - he got old, he lost his edge, he lost his ear – whatever it was, he is now purveying world-fusion cover-ballads with just a soupcon of jazz hidden underneath. Just image you’re in Starbucks. They play music; they most likely play this music. You can buy the CD there too. He plays the keytar on some of the tracks. Oh dear. There’s a bit of breathy vocal, then some slap bass. Oh dear. There’s some wah-wah, then some synth that sounds like part of the Grange Hill theme tune from the 80’s (IN GOES THE FORKED SAUSAGE - there's also an extended version!). Oh dear. There’s a version of Imagine sung in like foreign innit. Oh dear. There’s an impassioned speech about why can’t we all get along. Oh dear.* And so it went.

So I have learnt: do research before thinking that a jazz legend will be a safe bet for a gig. When people start winning Grammy awards beware. This is why.

(* Of course it’s true, worthwhile and all of that, but cut the cheese please. Or at least play some good jazz afterwards.)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Frog chorus....

During our walks by the river of late, we have been serenaded by the frogs, who were especially vocal last night.....

Not much to see in the video, but you can hear their dulcet tones pretty well, the picture is of one of the vocalists taking a breather from his choral duties.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Over thinking and DIrty Laundry

I don't hang our underwear on the washing line - apart from socks.
The line hangs over the carpark area out the back and I don't feel comfortable having my knickers dangling over the neighbours cars.

It has recently occured to me that whilst this may save my blushes, my neighbours may think that we don't in fact wear underwear.....or maybe that we do, we just don't wash it.

I am not sure which of these options is the worst.

That is all.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

What do you read? Books man, books.

Extra special staying out late on a Monday night dispensation last week as we headed over to our favourite cinema come music venue - The Mayfair - to see Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra.

What's this, a cinema hosting live music? It seems so, and not for the first time. Mayfair seems to have a pleasing side-line in gigs and also the burgeoning, new yet old genre of re-soundtracking whereby a film screening is accompanied by live music (and live voice acting in the case of Night of the Living Dead). It's a bit strange having an all-seated gig, but we're well past our pogoing heyday so it's all just fine and dandy to be sat and listening to some fine sounds.

The evening started off with Memoryhouse. A very pleasing dreamy synth-tinged sound, redolent of Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine and, sometimes, Boards of Canada. We definitely want to know more of this group.

Already it was getting late, but not too late to have a second support act. I confess that I have no idea who they were, and have been googling in vain for the last few minutes trying to figure it out. Anyhow, they were just fine and dandy, although not so much to my tastes these days. They reminded me of early Verve stuff with some pleasing, drifting guitar which, once in a while, really kicked into gear.

Now, the main event. Not until 11 pm, well past bedtime, and oh so hot in the cinema, but, but, but... what are these trivialities compared to the ecstatic power of Thee Silver Mt. Zion? Nothing, that's what: nothing. The show was stupendous. The group comprised guitar, two violins, cello and drums, providing that satisfyingly complex post-rock sound which fuses everything from classical to metal (Pichfork mention "chamber-punk" and "orchestro-folk" in their review of the recent album). There's something amazingly compelling and transcendental about the music, it really sounds like nothing else. This is what music can be, what it should be; not the anodyne pennings of some tight-trousered Simon Cowell-alike, custom designed to fill bland pop radio and pass the time of day, but guttural, from the heart: born of life, not the boardroom.

So they played, and played some more, and it was fantastic. The audience was hot but enthused, apart from all those that seemed to have an 11.30 curfew and traipsed out of the room after the 2nd song. One guy even made the effort to get up and dance in vest and pants for most of the gig, which was possibly the non-musical highlight of the gig, if not a little disturbing. The other non-musical highlights were the impromptu Q&A sessions between songs (presumably there to fill in the longer than usual equipment fiddling required in this unusual venue and infernal heat) in which the usual rock group between-song ramblings/pontifications were replaced with "anyone have a question...?" and soon threatened to descent into playground arguments.

"What do you read?"
"Books man, books. We read books."
"Why are you so bitter?"
"Why do you think I'm bitter, you don't know me man...."


Sunday, 30 May 2010

chop chop busy busy

Ottawa - the busiest weekend yet...

Saturday saw the Great Glebe Garage Sale. We met for breakfast at Betsy's (delicious as ever) then headed out to grab some bargains. Our 'hope to find' list included lamps for Paul's office, rubber snakes and a copy of The Twits by Roald Dahl.....and we were succesful on all counts. Our haul included:
2 matching retro desk lamp, from different stalls: $1.50
Four balls of jade cotton for knitting baby jackets and a science text book: $1.00
6 blank lab books and a crochet a monster kit: $3.00
3 children's story books for making into notebooks: $1.00
Hockey gloves for Paul and The Twits: $7.50
A Canadian Atlas and three sci-fi novels for Paul: $3.50
Tote bag made from an Indian Coffee sack: free
Two rubber snakes: photographed for free

Bargains galore. $17.50 spent - (around a tenner for those reading in sterling). And lots of fun spotting, we could have come home with several mannekins, a Harley Davidson, hobby horses.....oh so much temptation.

And on to Sunday. This is Race weekend in Ottawa, 2,5 and 10km races yesterday, and the half and full marathons today. The route goes past the end of the street and as he race starts at 7am I was awoken by the cowbells, yelling and Spanish music echoing from the cheering statio up the road. Paul slept on, but when I found it a struggle to concentrate on my book due to the wafts of The Macarena, I nudged him into action and we headed down to watch the fun. Our area (New Edinburgh) wins prizes yearly for its enthusiastic cheering and the crowds were out in force to hig five the runners and hand them cups of gatorade or water - and for some reason the men helping out were wearing red dresses. Bizarre.

We had a date at the Ravenswing Zine and Craft Fayre though, and cycled over to explore. (This meant nipping across the race route infront of the slower runners due to bad route planning). The fayre was quite small, but we grabbed a coffee and cupcake and sat back to listen to the local bands playing before heading to Aunt Olive's for yummy lunch (why are so many of my posts so full of food!).

Then back on the bikes and off to The Ottawa Children's Festival, whilst there Paul took the opportunity to dress up as a dragon.
This was an added bonus though as our main purpose was to hang out in the Luminarium. This was one of our favourite things to do back in england too as its run by a Nottingham based company. Difficult to explain to anyone whose not been, but the closest I can get is lying back on the inside of a bouncy castle listening to whale works for us anyway!

Many more piccies from this weekend on Flickr.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Turtle Power....

The heat is on, well the sun is up anyway. Many people (one or two ) seemed concerned as to whether we'll cope with the Winters out here, and although we know it was a mild one we've just got through - its the summers that will be a challenge for me. I am not a fan of the heat.

But, armed with my new positive outlook on life (surprising what two years off work can do for your state of mind!), I am embracing summer in all its sweaty smellyness....
Donning my sunhat and heading to a cottage for the weekend, we paddled, swam, ate fab food and sat about reading. The last two of these may well be suitable for all weathers, but the experience was enhanced by ample use of bug spray and sun tan lotion.

The wildlife highlight of the weekend was a prehistoric discovery. Making the most of our last morning we headed down for one last dip in the lake, until Paul nearly trod on this beauty, sunning himself on the rocks by the jetty.

We've been warned not to get to close to snapping turtles, as they can be feisty. Having checked out the spikes on his tail we stayed out of the water for a while, (for scale, his tail was as long as my hand - and I have spindly fingers!).

When he eventually headed back into the water, we had our swim. The cold water is fantastically refreshing in the heat - or shockingly cold on your extremities depending on whether you're still thinking positively.

As we dried off we spotted a snake swimming by. Glad we didn't see him before we got in!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Tea- party

We've been here nine months now, well ten months, but nine in our current abode. During that time we've benefited from several generous invitations by various of Paul's fellow scientists, many of which revolve around food - there was the ice-cream tasting with delicious home-made strawberry heaven; wine-tasting and fondue (never encourage me to sample 7 different wines, even in small quantities); bbq's (have I mentioned that Paul used to be a vegetarian, didn't last long!) and trips to cold-war bunkers. How is the cold-war museum food related? Surprisingly you really put away the sushi after being educated underground about survival after nuclear attacks for a couple of hours.

Anyway, we felt it was probably our turn to act as host and hostess, and decided to invite one and all to an English Tea Party. Now, we benefit here from there only being a couple of other Brits in the group. This meant I could bake things we enjoyed eating, whether they were traditional or not.....And what does a Lawes girl do when faced with a day of baking - yes Mum, she cracks out the Bero book! (And refers to Nigella too).
And voila:

We made: Strawberry Shortcakes; Blue-cheese biscuits; a Victoria Sponge; Cherry and Brandy Trifle (Paul was in charge of the brandy - enough said); Cheese scones (of course!); Feta filo parcels and a selection of sandwiches cut in beautiful triangles - cream cheese and cucumber, salmon, and jam. (Paul did neglect to cut the crusts off the sandwiches, but thankfully this faux-pas was only noticed by one of the fellow Brits, we gave him another beer to keep him quiet).

The evening was a big success. We had 25 guests (we didn't know this many in England!), and the scientists played nicely with the lesser mortals. Despite filling the bath with beer, many stuck with tea - very civilised. Jasper behaved beautifully - stunning many by refusing their offerings of tidbits.....then throwing up what he had eaten, he is a fussy dog.

And now we get to spend a soggy Saturday sat by the fire, working our way through the leftovers, safe in the knowledge we won't be throwing a party for another year - lovely. x

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A letter...

Dear Amy,

This is your brain speaking. Not your conscious brain which you place far too much faith in, listening to it prattling on about knitting patterns and cupcakes when you should be revising resolving vectors for your tutoring session.

No, this is the subconscious part of your brain, the part that has failed you three days running. The part which looks out the window at the ominous black cloud and decides that you have plenty of time to walk the dog/cycle to the pub before the downpour.

I am wrong - everytime. Do not listen to me. You will get wet. Wet to your underwear. You will get a soggy bottom and it won't be nice.

On the other hand, if you choose to ignore little old subconscious me and ignore your weather instincts, you have the potential to be an excellent weather predictor. Just go with the exact opposite and you will have a 100% perfect record - and dry underwear to boot.

Good luck,
Amy's subconscious brain.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Blog neglect....

Poor lonely blog. Not been paying you much attention over the last week or so....buried in knitting and playing in the woods.
A few images to keep you going until my writing juices start flowing again:

the beautiful fish that was caught during our day in the woods last week. (He was released to swim again as we had eaten our full of burgers (the men) and peanut butter on toast (me) cooked on the open fire). Tramping round the woods identifying trees and bugs galore, canoeing with beavers in the river, ice-cream on the way home - bliss.

Two from our walk home on Saturday evening. Paul spent the day chasing men round the woods with a paintball gun, I spent the day browsing estate sales and buying a loom - who says we don't fit into traditional gender stereotypes! In the evening we headed to Gatineau (reluctantly it must be said) but ended up having a very entertaining evening - and a beautiful walk home along the river.

On the way back up the stairs after sharing a cuppa by the waterfall with Paul this afternoon, I noticed this new addition to the neighbourhood. I am currently unsure why there is a turtle in a paddling pool on the basement roof. Canadian custom?

Head to the Tarts N Crafts Sale this Mother's Day weekend

First of a series of crafter profiles I'm working on this week....

Head to the Tarts N Crafts Sale this Mother's Day weekend

Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, 24 April 2010


....are beautiful. x

Friday, 23 April 2010

Ice-cream season begins - part One

An hours walk to the museum is much enhanced by the purchasing of the first ice-cream of the season. His: Banana and Peanut butter, Hers: Caramel Choc-chip.
The verdict 1-0 to her.

NB: Eating ice-cream will not help me shed any hummingbirds, I recognise this fact but will probably not do anything about it. I have managed to replace crisps with carrots, but will not be replacing ice-cream with anything rebel that I am.

Watching my weight....

Last night was Thursday at the museum night - a monthly event where we tour a museum or gallery (because its free on Thursdays), then stuff ourselves on good grub afterwards....
Our first visit to The Canadian Museum of Nature was a success and I can now update you on the hot issue of the moment - my weight. I am a strong confident woman and feel I can share the details of the scales with you my dear friends and family....

As you can see from this beautifully modelled photo, I now weigh the same as
20,618 Ruby Throated Hummingbirds
or 687 Blue Jays
or 52 Mallards
or 8 Wild Turkeys.

I will update you on our next visit in a couple of months time, when I hope to have lost a few hummingbirds....I fear there will be no reduction in turkeys unless i lose a limb.


Monday, 19 April 2010

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The greater concern....

Last night I dreamt about three giant woodpeckers living on top of a grand piano. One of them had a clump of spring onions which it kept rubbing itself in, and another was playing a small cello.

This worried me. That is until lunchtime when Paul did his impression of "D infinity H" symmetry, before correcting himself to state he was infact "C infinity V". Linear but without a horizontal mirror plane. He ended the conversation with this gem:
"If you were going to photo-ionise me, what would you get?"

My dreams seem somewhat saner by comparison.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Felt mascots as birthday cards

another posting on my crafting blog.....

Felt mascots as birthday cards

Posted using ShareThis

wildlife wonderings....

Last night as we walked Jasper we spotted our friendly beaver again, swimming backwards and forward along the same stretch of the river. At one point he swam up to a pair of mallards and seemed to herd them out of the way.

As I write and stare out of the lounge window I can see two vultures soaring in the blue sky. (Ok, as I write they've soared out of sight, but they were there a minute ago!).

We found a young man passed out in the street yesterday evening, well in the NRC car park but people were having to drive round him. I checked on him, he didn't seem to know his name but knew he wanted to get a 95 bus. I offered to help him up, at least so he could sit on the grass rather than in the road, he was worried I might hurt myself trying to help him (very considerate considering how plastered he was). Turns out someone had already called an ambulance. As the flashing lights arrived (in the end the paramedics turned up, a fire engine crew drove passed to check all was ok, and two police cars pulled up too), he told me I sounded very British and that he had cousins in Britain. He probably can't remember any of this this morning.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Woohoo - I remembered the camera!

The morning walk, the morning beaver spot!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Someone obviously heard me bemoaning the lack of mammal spotting on our Easter break as today I got a hat-trick.

Firstly - if you happen to be accompanying me as leave my home at anytime in the future, please be sure to remind me to pick up my camera as we leave. After blogging the holiday pics last nigh I put the camera safely in my coat pocket for the morning, not realising that of course now its 14+ degrees I won't be wearing my lovely warm snuggly winter coat anymore unless I fancy a portable sauna experience. This meant that I donned my lighter fleece this morning and therefore only had the shockingly useless camera on my phone when we spotted a beaver doing laps of the river. AGH!!!! He climbed up on the bank showing off his rudder, he swam along beside Jasper and I for a good five minutes and even graced us by diving under slapping his tail on the water. He was beautiful and I am a muppet.

This was a lesson learnt.

At least until this afternoon when I walked Paul back to work and then had to run back for the camera when we spotted the local groundhog and a yellow bellied sapsucker within 30 seconds of leaving home. Of course the bird had flown by the time I returned, but strangely my elephant like grace and heavy breathing did not scare off Mr.Woodchuck who posed for this shot before he decided Jasper was getting too close for comfort and dived down his hole:

Another beaver spot as we neared the river but too far away for photography. On return home though I noticed the neighbourhood raccoon settling down for an afternoon nap in next doors garden. Snug as a furry thing in a tree can be.

So, a mammal-tastic day indeed. And more fun to come, this time of a fishy nature as I head off to the pub to host the great Ottawa knit-night fish hat swap 2010. My blue number is off to a new home and we will see what scaly treat I return with. Photos I am sure tomorrow. x

Monday, 5 April 2010

Holiday round up

Well, lets compare the holiday experience to the ten predictions I made last week:


A particularly fine wander around the White Fish Reservoir - or more to the point in it. The water level was dramatically low, so we walked on sandbanks, wearing shorts - spotting patches of ice in what water there was - a real mix of the seasons.

Wildlife Watching
Not many mammals spotted, something ran past me in the dark while I was attempting to photograph stars last night, probably a raccoon. Plenty of birdies though, including several red-breasted nuthatches and a new one to me - a purple finch, which is red - go figure!


A fabulous game of Plus/Minus this morning with crisps, guacamole, apple pie and ice-cream - fabulous.

Fires (of the controlled and cosy variety)

Two evenings by the fire, supping whisky cocktails or hot chocolate and munching on smores...mmmmm......

What else would you expect me to do on holiday?! And thankfully my companions felt the same. Several good books read, mainly sat overlooking the lake while various pairs took to the water.


A fair few photos taken, see flickr

Last night was so clear, it was actually harder than usual to spot the constellations as there were so many 'extra' stars in the sky!

So, all targets me, and also lots of fabulous food eaten, and conversations had. The first of many fab holidays to come I hope. x