Monday, 31 January 2011

31/365 - Playing with ice

Stuck for things to do when its -22 and you have an overflow of margarine tubs and yoghurt pots? Well as always I'm here to help.
Go forth and fill those plastic containers with water,
if you're feeling adventurous add some branches of fir tree....
feeling spicy? sprinkle some paprika in for a kick of orange
just plain weird? why not add that little bag of green googly eyes you've been saving for a rainy day?

Done? Leave them overnight on the porch and tomorrow you'll have your very own icy playmobil set. Handle with care though children, we don't want any frostbitten fingers!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

30/365 Walking on water

After a morning on the sofa, we eventually dragged ourselves out of the house and went for a wander in Rockcliffe this afternoon, primarily to take photos of my new hat (its a very important task). Jasper was less than impressed with the photoshoot and more interested in our cups of tea and the fresh animal tracks in the snow. Photoshoot over we ended up walking quite a stretch on the river itself, where in places the snow was up past Jasper's chilly bits. The sky was blue, the ice was thick and the snow was sparkly, all was well with the world. Then Jasper discovered an evil eye painted on the rocks.

Actually, I think its quite a friendly eye but I'm not sure that's what they were going for. If you look closely the eye has been labelled 'Bob' (just to the right, underneath). I think if they were going for evil they should have picked something a bit more menacing, but then maybe I haven't met the Bob they were referring to.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

29/365 Today I feel....

.....think it may have something to do with the sofa/duvet/icelandic mystery book combo.

Took a few more snowy piccies whilst walking the dog and Paul this morning. Head over to flickr for the rest...

28/365 Answers on a postcard please...

....clearly the uppermost animal is a buffalo/bison....but any ideas on the identity of the lower one?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

27/365 See what happens....

....when you forget to bring your knitting to work. Suddenly the urge to colour-code the odd ball bin is so overwhelming that you come round an hour and a half later having created a masterpiece.....oooh the pretty colours.....

I will now be spending the next four days mentally preparing myself for the unsorted-ness of the bin when I return to work - oooh those pesky customers! ;)

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

26/365 On grey afternoons....

...when you're feeling antisocial, it takes a hefty kick up the bum to leave the house and head out to meet people, even good friends.
But if you do make that effort, you may well be rewarded with cappuccinos, tiramisu and an impromptu game of fluxx. The waiters may be a tad confused, but you will leave feeling much more content with life.

NB. It is significant to note that my mood was lifted despite losing miserably and repeatedly. After so many years I am sure that my family and those attending birthday celebrations in the Caston area from 1985-9 will be pleased to note that I am no longer the girl who had hissy fits at parties when she didn't win at pass the parcel. I am now a woman who is only minorly frustrated by losing, and is fine once she has bought herself a conciliatory croissant on the way home. This I'm sure you will agree, is progress indeed.

25/365 A little of what you fancy....

....does you good.

Fab parcel in the post today - curly wurly's from Karen - hooray! Paired with my new favourite drink, coffee flavoured beer. No really, its heavenly.......hiccup.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

24/365 We are pleased to announce....

....that we are now a four sofa household. I know many of you have been expecting this happy news for some time, and we've been procrastinating. But we finally made this the most committed of steps in our relationship and our new addition is now snuggling into the lounge and fast becoming one of the family. There may have been a few hiccups in the early moments - choosing a -27 morning, complete with aching limbs from skiing, to move a sofa up the outside staircase may not have been the most sensible course of action. But suffice to say that our new friend is now displaying a lovely layer of dog hair so has truly been accepted into the household.

We spent the evening as a family, reading our books before passing out and snoring sweetly together listening to Late Junction.

NB. I realise that some of you may focus on the fact that this photo suggests that I can only read by following the words with a finger. May I direct you to the far more interesting observation that Jasper has now started researching patchwork patterns in the evenings. And yes, Paul is nearing his yearly haricut. Only three more months to go.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

23/365 Decadence

The forecast says today should have a maximum of -21 - yes you read that right, a MAXIMUM of -21. What to do with such a ridiculously chilly day? Why, tie planks to your feet and go sliding in the snow of course!

If you know me (and I assume you do, why else would you be here?), you will be aware of my complete lack of co-ordination. (This does indeed apply to my fashion sense but on this occasion I am referring to my lack of ability to co-ordinate my limbs as opposed to my wardrobe). After 17 months in Canada I have now mastered standing completely still on skates which I count as a huge achievement. I have only slipped over once this year thus far whilst walking about town, and I currently only have three bruises on my legs from banging into furniture around the house during my day to day activities (considering what a large percentage of the day i spend on a sofa this may not be as impressive a record as I think). Anyway, with these huge personal successes under my belt, I felt I was ready to hit the snow on skis once again - and yet again I LOVED IT!

I was struck whilst out today that skiing means very different things to each person who does it. Obviously there is the downhill vs. X-country debate, and rest assured I shall only be venturing out on the flat as there is no darn way I should be trusted on any of them there ski-slopes, that would just be silly. But even amongst those out in the woods today it was clear that for many skiing is an exercise to be slogged at. I was passed repeatedly by speedy skiers, seemingly intent on slogging their way round the trail, straining every muscle in their bodies in the process.

This (unsurprisingly) is not how I like to ski. For me, once I've been going long enough to reach a comfortable temperature and feel my fingertips again, it is almost a meditative experience. I'm out in nature, my body pretty much sliding away on autopilot and I can stare off into the woods in search of views to cherish and birds to spot. I sing to myself (quietly), and apart from the odd wobble am content to plod away in my own little world. Did I mention how much I love it?!

And after all this? A trip to the Spa Nordik to wallow in hot pools while your hair frosts up once more, sweat away in the sauna, and read your book by the fire.

And while the other spa-goers lie about in their bikinis looking svelte and stylish with their long limbs stretched out, I snuggle up under my robe with headphones on and promptly fall asleep. My dear friends told me I looked like I'd curled up in the fetal position.....all I know is that was one hell of a nap. I only hope I wasn't snoring.

22/365 The Vernissage

Such a lovely lovely day. Started with a delicious breakfast at Jak's Kitchen, the best poached eggs in Ottawa (in my humble opinion). Very very tasty.

Headed to Trailhead to pick up skis for tomorrow, then an afternoon of tidying (with ELO on maximum volume)....for the art event of the century in the evening - Chris and Frances' Birthday photography challenge exhibition.

The photos were fab and generated much discussion, the cakes were tasty yummy (if I do say so myself) and the dumplings dips and cheese went down very easily too. To bed tired and contented, a good day indeed.

(NB. There may have been an incident with a rental car wing mirror and a bus. We do not discuss such matters in polite society. That is all).

Saturday, 22 January 2011

A sweater challenge update

My self imposed sweater challenge (knit 11 in 2011) continues.....lets have a round up of progress so far:

numero one - cardi for me, finished, hooray!

Cast on and in progress:
two - lace weight top of doom - half finished and although I love it, its driving me crazy!
three - lovely lovely cardigan of joy, cast on earlier this week as an antidote to the aforementioned lace-weight of doom

In the planning stages:
four - Mum's birthday top, due in April (actually it was meant to be a Christmas top, but I am rubbish!)
five - Paul's orange chunky cardigan of wondrous snuggly wonder (like I'm ever going to let him wear it, it'll be mine all mine)
six - Michael's crazily complicated cabled fisherman sweater - the beast! (pattern and yarn chosen)

So that leaves 11 months and one week, and 5 more sweater vacancies.....and an almost guaranteed bout of RSI coming my way at some stage too.

21/365 Quirky Indy date night

Are you sitting comfortably? Good. You have thirty seconds to come up with your top 5 Canadian animals.......go.....
.... done?
Lets see, Moose? Bear? Raccoon? Beaver? Now it starts getting more difficult.....Skunk? Chipmunk? Any more?

How about the Salamander?! No? Wasn't on my list either, at least not before we moved here. And then I spotted an evening out mentioned in the OFNC monthly bulletin - "Come see the mudpuppies" it said. "What's a mudpuppy?" I thought. So we hired a car, drove into the middle of nowhere and found out.

Awesome-sauce! Small spotty amphibians with curly red gills of beauty - I'm in love!

And whats could be better than a spotty Salamander?
Why a bucket full of Salamanders of course!

(NB. To facilitate this adventure, I finally handed in my English driving licence to exchange it for an Ontario one. I passed the eye test with flying colours, which was followed by "We need to take your photo now, sorry". Yes, apparently I look so awful now I need an apology before someone points a camera at me....ho hum!)

Friday, 21 January 2011

20/365 Eating out with friends

A quiet day, lots of jobs done but nothing exciting to share. All days are improved with good food and time with friends though. I do love me a bento box.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

19/365 Exit

I only took one photo today, which to be fair didn't come out all that well. But it does represent another thoroughly enjoyable date night at Quinn's and the Mayfair. Fish and Chips, a pint of Beaus and a Canadian Cult double bill (Whispering City and Scanners).

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

18/365 Bunny maintenance

So it turns out Moochi the bunny at work gets his hair cut four times more regularly than Paul does.....maybe if Paul had longer ears we could maintain his mop more easily too.

And for those of you who don't think rabbits have grasped the English language yet, try saying "time for a naked bunny" near Moochi and watch him run!

Monday, 17 January 2011

17/365 Sun dogs

It is inordinately difficult to motivate yourself out of bed and out into the wide world when the weather station is sat on the table beside your head informing you that its -22 out there. This morning I had little choice though as I had to make it to the library before ten to avoid library fines (again)...

This morning I was rewarded though, with glorious sun dogs shimmering in the blue blue sky. Managed to get a couple of shots of full halos (see flickr), but think this one is my favourite, the icicles on the lamp-post add a little something extra!

16/365 Snow Angel fail

A day of snowy play today. Starting with a walk under blue blue skies. Just after spotting a Bald Eagle flying over the river, I had the urge to make snow angels (I think there may still have been residual rum in my system). Paul followed suit. Jasper does not approve, and in both cases sat under our right arms to limit movement.

In the afternoon we finally tested our magic carpets and went flying down the hill on our bottoms - bliss! Video evidence of our first runs can be found here and here....

Then to the canal for a skate as the sun went down. Technically I can only claim to have stood on the canal whilst wearing skates - but this is fine progress none the less. Sadly we forgot to take photos so I may even have to go back for seconds!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

15/365 Ugly bunnies

A little the worse for wear this morning (and afternoon) not much to say. Still very excited about the bright lights of last night.
Can now reveal the pressie I made for the Christmas do last night - introducing the very ugly bunny. He's meant to be a pincushion but not sure I'd have the heart to increase his woes by stabbing him with pins, I am a softie at heart really.

14/365 An evening to remember

I thought I knew what todays post was going to be about since yesterday afternoon when I bought a ticket to a concert on the way home from work. I was confident I'd manage to sneak a photo whilst the Canadian Brass boys performed their magic with the NAC orchestra. The concert was indeed fab. I sat with my knitting and revelled in a mixture of show tunes(*), beatles hits and blues treats. Magic.

Wandered home via the Ribs-night Paul was attending. I'll be honest, I partook of a few beverages. And it was not til after 2am that we headed home, which is way past the hour of pumpkin-ness ( I am usually more sensitive than cinderella and transform into some kind of squash at around 10:30pm).....on arrival home Jasper attacked and we headed back out into the outside to let him add his contributions to the yellow snow.

As I put the key in the lock on return home, I turned round - and spotted bright stripes of light in the sky.
Now I don't drink rum often, so at first I was unsure whether this was some side-effect people had been keeping quiet from me. Paul thankfully could see the colours too, but to be fair had also been sampling the rum.....if these photos look to you like a big blank sky, then please accept my apologies and I'll keep my hallucinations to myself in future.

Either way, we had a fab time running down to the river to get a better view, and freezing our fingers off waiting for 30 second exposures in the chilly -16 night air.
Research this morning leads me to the discovery that the lights were caused by ice crystals in the air (and you could see shiny fairy dust type sparkles in the air.), and not the Northern Lights. But it was pretty damn magical either way. And has not even been dampened by the hangover this morning.

(*) Paul would like me to point out that he was not present and did not sit through show tunes. The boy does generative maths art for fun and thinks an appreciation of show tunes is what would reck his street cred.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

13/365 - Canadian Experience

Its 137 days to go til the littlest Lawes sister arrives. Yesterday she set me a challenge to think of something that I really want to do whilst in Canada that I haven't done yet, to do while she's here.

I have been pondering this and I blame this preoccupation for my impulse buy in the supermarket this afternoon. I purchased two packets of Kraft dinner, purely because neither Paul and I have had one before and it seems like we should experience it before we leave. Its probably more of an American thing than Canadian to be honest, but its a cultural reference that we lack thus far.....

Beautiful isn't it? Yes, its macaroni and cheese from a packet. And not even that tasty looking asparagus can transform it into something that looks even vaguely appetising. The cheese sauce mix actually looked like crushed wotsits. Classy.

Paul went back for seconds.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

12/365 Knitting errors

If the last photo was evidence that I should not be allowed to play with photoshop whilst Paul is playing ice-hockey, then todays is proof that I should put down the knitting whilst on the phone. Particularly to the parents.

As I may have mentioned before I have a great deal of trouble with my head, which I repeatedly fail to acknowledge is on the large side. Usually this just leads to hats which do not keep my ears warm. On this occasion the result was somewhat more dramatic with a top which would not pass over my enormous noggin. Even if I pulled my special squeezey head face.

(I have now rescued the top, which fits perfectly but looks hideous. A day well spent me thinks). x

11/365 More wildlife spottings....

Finished another sock to add to the collection, but it seems to have wandered off on its own.

Monday, 10 January 2011

10/365 Finishing projects left right and centre

Three knitting projects finished in the last two days.....Sweater number one is off the needles and I'm snuggled up in it now - hooray! (Technically its a cardigan but I'm not fussy).

The second project is a secret for now as its going in my pressie for the yarn store Christmas do on will appear later if I remember, I'm very pleased with it though....(although, technically that was a crochet project....)

And last but not least I finished an itty bitty fishy baby hat that I found hidden away half finished over the weekend...his uneven eyes appeal to me, he might be my favourite fish hat yet. I have requests for more this year though, so check back for more artistic interpretations of fish-features throughout the year.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

9/365 Estonian hats cause smiles.

I often wonder that Paul seems so unaware of the mountain of hair on his head. He's now 9 months since his last haircut and its getting to be quite a mane. Thankfully we're past the mullet stage and into mad professor now which makes me very happy.

Today I experienced a little of his world though, as I rediscovered my felted hat from Estonia. Once on my head it kept my ears warm and thats all the attention I paid to it.

Took me a while to realise why passers by were smiling at me more than usual.
Also, strangers complimented me on it (its very rare that even friends comment on my clothing, its functional and stays under the style-radar). One lady insisted that I need to put bells on the ends.
This will not be happening, but made me smile anyway.

8/365 Galleries

Finally made it to the Moshe Safdie exhibition at the National Art Gallery this afternoon (last day). The models were so intricate and the buildings were all stunning - although not all beautiful. The Singapore building in particular caused much discussion, loved the curves, not so sure about the boaty bit on top - but hey, I know very little about architecture, just know what I like.
I do like the look of the peace memorial building in Washington looks like its going to be worth a visit though, will add it to the ever growing list of places we want to go.

In other news, cheese boards and gnocchi are added to my 'these are a few of my favourite things list' - see right.

Friday, 7 January 2011

7/365 - Science project

While we were away at the weekend we had so many awesome nature experiences - watching otters playing on the icy lake, seeing a muskrat swim under us as we walked on said lake, and a Bald Eagle soaring over our heads.

Today I got even more closely in touch with nature than that, by dissecting an owl pellet we found whilst exploring the area. (I say owl pellet, but it may have been produced by another bird if prey, I'm no expert).

No skull evidence, but lots of tiny bones, I'm guessing the remains of a poor wee mouse.

6/365 Simple pleasures....

Veggie pancakes, a cappucino and knitting in the cafe.

And another succesful datenight, with a slap up meal, Charlie Chaplin double bill, and the worlds worst "Comedy" Juggling Magician warming up the crowd beforehand. Enjoyably cringeworthy.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

5/365 Accepting applications for Valentines

Christmas is over, the tree comes down tomorrow (boo hiss), and I am now accepting applications for Valentines. Paul refuses to fill this role in my life, and despite entering a draw two years running I haven't managed to win myself a Barbershop quartet singing valentine.

Cheeky to solicit such things you may be thinking? I'm not an idiot, I know you'll take some inspiring. And so I took it into my own hands to take a sexy self-portrait this morning, to share with you now.

If that doesn't result in a flood of cards winging their way come February, I give up.

(NB. On an aside, I can whole-heartedly recommend setting your internal jukebox to songs from 'A Muppet's Christmas Carol' to help you get through root canal procedures if ever the need should arise).

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

4/365 Keeping up with resolutions

January 4th - Just in case you were worrying, cake is being baked and consumed. Unfortunately I did not keep a full and accurate log of the quantity of cake I consumed in this four day period last year. To ensure that I am definitely keeping my resolution (Eat more cake), I had two slices.
I hope you are all as succesful with your own resolutions thus far.

3/365 - Weather warnings

Paul got a weather station for christmas and he set it up today.
He enlisted my help to hold it steady while he attached it to the balcony. Even before the display fired up, my internal weather sensor informed me Paul that it was bloody freezing(*).
This morning the digital display informed us it was snowing. My internal weather sensor had seen the snow out the bedroom window.....

(*) Please note "Bloody freezing" is a technical weather term. It is defined to be the temperature at which I get goose bumps on every extremity and the chattering of my teeth is too loud for me to here Paul swearing as he struggles with the screwdriver.

Monday, 3 January 2011


2nd January - You can walk on ice, you (not me) can skate on ice, you can fish on ice - and you can sit on ice and pose for a photo, and walk away with a soggy bum.

A photo a day 1/365

January 1st - A misty morning spent at a friend's cottage. View over the frozen lake.