Tuesday, 31 May 2011

148/365 Look what has arrived!

Hoorah! And so far they have behaved themselves very well, I even got breakfast cooked for me - hoorah once more!

They're off exploring on their own tomorrow, fingers crossed they find their way home again!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

147/365 Race weekend

We live pretty much on the race route for the Ottawa Marathon, which I forget. That is until the cheering stations start warming up at 7:30 and we get hits of the eighties blared round the neighbourhood during our lie in. Ho hum, if you can't beat them join them as they say (the cheerers that is, not the runners, don't be silly!).

Our dog walk this morning took us round from about the 17km mark to the 20km mark, and we saw some of the 'elite' runners heading back to the start, and the erm....not so elite runners pacing it out at the back. Most seemed in very good humour though, although they had only just reached halfway so not sure how much longer that would last.

I dabbled with the idea of running a marathon once. Got over it!

An afternoon playing Euchre in the park and dinner with friends made for a fabulous Sunday, helped by the sun making an appearance.

Anyway, my photo is not my favourite one of the day, that honour goes to one sent me by my daddy-o. My sister and 4 elephant hawk moths they caught in the back garden - makes me smile! As you can tell, the younger siblings are much more stylish than me, W manages to co-ordinate her nail polish, dressing gown and wildlife in this ensemble - my socks don't even match!

Sister number two arrives tomorrow - Canada you have been warned! ;)

146/365 Battle of the bands.

You may or may not remember my mentioning watching the Taiko players at the Chinatown festival a week or so ago.
We loved the performance so much that we signed up for a workshop, and at the end of the session we were split into two groups and told to compose our own pieces - P and I were put in opposite teams - battle of the bands commenced.

Here are he and the boys.

And me and my team.

I'll leave the judging up to you. In my defence though I demonstrated a much greater sense of rythm all morning, it just went for a coffee break during the performance.

Great morning, highly reccomended. Website here.

Friday, 27 May 2011

145/365 Finished!

Its only taken me since last November. Ok so I took quite a while off when I couldn't face another granny square, and another break when I ran out of black yarn....but its done!

And the bloody dog has already claimed it!

Apologies to knitting/crocheting buddies who will have seen me celebrating the completing of this project everywhere....but for those of you not bored yet, there are 335 squares. Yes 335. And I actually made more than that as apparently I can't count green squares accurately.
It measures about 3 1/3 feet across, and just under 6 feet tall.

And it is the last Mario project I will be making for a wee while.

But I love it. And hopefully P will too (he'd better do, its big enough to roll up a body in if not!).

144/365 Recycling in action

I gained posession of those beautiful wellies recently, as N has grown out of them. Sadly they are too small for my clown-esque footsies, but I have reinvented one as a herb planter, adding some compost and mint for fresh smelling toes.

More recycling to follow, found a fab wooden box that someone had put out for the binmen yesterday, our house is turning into a reclamation yard at the moment.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

143/365 Wednesday night at the pictures.

They may not be Wells-next-to-the-sea chips, and they definitely aren't my Mum's homemade chips, but there is a lot to be said for a large coffee cup of chips.

They did sit a little heavily, but as T and I had a three seater sofa between us at the cinema (P opted for an armchair, he's too good for us it seems!), we had room to get comfy. The film (Small Town Murder Songs) was dark and moody, perfect Wednesday night fare. Especially the soundtrack by the fab Bruce Peninsula who we'd seen at the folk festival before.

A cycle home by starlight ended a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Especially for a Wednesday.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

142/365 Jasper's personal trainer.

(Oops...a post for Tuesday, late yet again!)

So, Jasper is apparently now on a stricter diet, with smaller portions of his food and less tidbits too.

I say 'apparently' because P and I are pretty rubbish at human diets, let alone doggy ones. He doesn't beg, he rarely whines for food, but he is just too cute to leave treatless.

Thank heavens then for his new personal dietitian and trainer, Greedy McBeaky.

As summer has finally arrived (well, at least a dry Spring anyhow), Jasper prefers to eat his meals al fresco. His grub is served on the back porch where he can watch squirrels whilst he eats. Lovely.

But if he doesn't eat fast enough, or leaves any in his bowl - Mr. McBeaky swoops in and gobbles down the rest, therefore limiting his portions.

Not content with his dietitian role, he has also taken to hanging out on the porch so that Jasper races out there to chase him away - helping those calories burn off too.

I'm expecting him to turn up with exercise equipment in the next week, maybe get Jasper lifting weights or on the treadmill. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 23 May 2011

141/365 Odd

I've been feeling odd all day. Not sure if it was the late night last night, a little too much to drink, the polleny air at the moment or a combination of all of these factors. Never mind, it'll pass. And I did finish another sock today so that makes two for the holiday weekend - not quite a pair though!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

140/365 Stained glass bug wings

are pretty.

A bike ride to a yarn store with T to browse and buy more loveliness, followed by soup and sandwich in a nice new cafe that I have managed to forget the name of. Nice though.

Some herb and tomato plant shopping at Parkdale market, and then more cycling home. Remarkably active for a Sunday afternoon, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Now watching the rain out the window and debating when we make a dash for it to get to the house-warming, feels all too nice and dry in here.

I say tom-ar-toe, and everyone else says tom-ay-toe, dum de dum.

139 b) Saturday saved!

Thankyou Tara! Not a photo taken by me, but it is a photo of me (and P), so I'm counting it. Hoorah.

And also thanks to T for managing to take a photo which doesn't show the large amount of my dinner I had managed to dribble down my front. Very artistically shot.

So there we go, Saturday was 7 hours at work, then a fine fine BBQ in the sunshine with friends. Not too shabby.

And cupcakes too.

139/365 FAIL!

I didn't take any photos today - agh!!!!! 139 days into a project and I failed to take any pictures. Fail fail fail......hmm, photos were however taken of me, so lets see if this situation can be at least partly remedied. Help!

138/365 Friday and a storm is approaching.

An impromptu evening out for Korean food, and en route we spotted this storm a brewing over the river - and me without my brolly. Thankfully it just looked spectacular and didn't swing our way. That's some rain storm there.

The evening included another sweater request from a friend, who wanted to know if it was easy to incorporate pictures into knitting. When asked what he would like represented in stitches, his reply left me speechless...

"I don't know, maybe a cat. Or Colin Farrel with a beard like in Miami Vice".

Hmm....apparently it wasn't the Sake distorting my hearing. We'll see how this project progresses!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

137/365 Dedication

A return to the tulip festival this afternoon, and in the International Tent it was India day. Here we encountered this man, who is a professional embroiderer.

He embroiders on Pashminas, you know the fancy pants silky neckscarf doobreys for sale everywhere nowadays.

Now I have dabbled with embroidery before. I stitched on some napkins as Christmas presents for two sets of friends last year. It took hours!

Yesterday I bemoaned the fact that I didn't manage to finish my latest sweater in time to wear it to work today. Thus far this sweater has taken me about a fortnight, working on it intermittently with other projects.

What's my point?

Well, this man works on the same project for THREE YEARS!

Check out the intricacy of his current piece:

The photo doesn't do it justice believe me, it was beautiful. Here's one of his previous ones, again excuse the photography, the richness of the colours was so striking in reality.

Dedication indeed. I do love an unexpected crafting encounter, especially one so inspirational.

To finish the day an impromptu picnic with M and N, and hammock time - hoorah! The sun finally peeked out this afternoon, and I am looking forward to many more afternoons in parks and evenings on the porch. x

136/365 Wednesday is for....

....erm, more cake?

So little to report, oh deary me. Here is the cake baked this afternoon and eaten with friends. On the top are a wonky haunted house and a turkey. I have no idea why, they were the first two non-christmassy cutters out of the cupboard, and the cake was in dire need of icing sugar to cover up for its slightly over-baked-ness.

In other news, I spent 15 minutes pushing N on the swing this morning, which he adored and giggled throughout. He then spent zero minutes pushing me on the swing. Zero! Yes, I realise he is only 2. But this is far too reminiscent of childhood arguments over the sharing of the swing in the back garden as children. I'm taking a stopwatch next time and keeping note - when he's big enough I'm claiming my time back, with interest!

Ho hum. Maybe thursday will be cakeless and interesting, only time will tell!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

135/365 Tuesday is for cake and flowers

The cake is German Chocolate cake, with coconut and rum, from Memories cafe which I had not been to before. This situation will now be remedied I can assure you.

The flowers are bright red tulips in a garden on my walk home. They make me think of jesters and I love them.

That is all. x

Monday, 16 May 2011

134/365 Disturbing image follows

Sir Corkival has returned to us, and unfortunately, despite the fact that I was only being jovial at the end of the previous post on this matter.....the squirrels actually got him.

And chewed off his face.

We found the brave soldier, still clutching his sword and shield like the brave poppet he is, at the bottom of a tree this morning.

Please spare a thought for Sir Corky during his recovery period. We hope to see him return to his post on the mantelpiece as soon as he has undergone his face transplant surgery.

133/365 Chinatown excursion

The rain held off on Sunday afternoon, so we hiked over to Chinatown for their 'remixed' festival. For the most part this consisted of art-work by locals, displayed in the stores along Somerset. You could wander into the supermarket and find photos of China Street scenes, or into the travel agents to view cartoon birds.

Or, into the laundrette to watch a man play his own compositions on the keyboard, with a microphone held up on a yellow pages, who bumped his head on the overhanging pipe whenever he got carried away. Which was quite often in the song about racism during the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

I'm not really selling that well, it was actually great.

We managed to catch the end of the Taiko drumming display (awesome, more on that in a couple of weeks), and then after wandering the town, settled in Raw Sugar Cafe for a pint and a game of draughts.

No clear winner, although the first game was called off after I pulled the classic 'Oh, look a man in a squirrel hat' distraction and swiped some of Paul's pieces while he turned to look.

After Pho at a local eatery (very tasty) we finished the evening at the IMOO improv gig. Cello, percussion and bassoon with electronic jiggery pokery. Brilliant.

So good I got distracted and knit the same row on my sweater twice. That's recommendation indeed!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

132/365 Suggestions for rainy day activities

Things to do on rainy Saturdays:

Start with breakfast, how about raspberries on muesli stirred up with natural yoghurt. For elevenses share some frangipane tarts from the local bakery with a hot cup of coffee.
Follow that with a goats cheese and salad sandwich for lunch, with some kettle chips on the side.
Peckish in the afternoon? More bread and cheese will help that, especially if served with some cranberry compote.
Pop some homemade maple syrup flapjacks in the oven for that early evening nibble. For dinner fry up some asparagus and sliced veggie-burger and serve with left over potato salad and some Dijon mustard......
Supper? Undecided yet but there is plenty of ice-cream in the freezer.

On rainy days its best to hunker down like a hobbit and try your best to squeeze in as many meals as you can. It is a well known fact that calories on the weekend don't count. And definitely not if its raining too.

Honest. Fact.

Friday, 13 May 2011

131/365 A tentative yarn-bombing

Don't know what yarnbombing is? Check out the wiki page here, or have a look at some fab images here.

My first effort was as part of Winterlude in 2010, where our knitted pieces were sewn onto trees as cosies:
Urban Cozies at Parc Jacques-Cartier

After keeping my knitted wares to myself for the last year, this week a crocheted piece ventured forth. For the last couple of days we've been watching the progress of a miniature fort, built of twigs, that has appeared by a stretch of the Rideau River we pass every morning.

Feeling that no fort is complete without a knight to guard it, this morning Sir Corkival Knight took up this valiant task:

I was hoping that on my next pass there may have been more additions to the scene, maybe a roof to the structure, or a flag flying. But by 2pm this afternoon Sir Corky had gone a wandering. I like to think he met his true love and they floated off down the river together to live happily ever after.

He was probably kidnapped by an evil squirrel.

130/365 Royal tulips

I did not get up to watch the royal wedding. I think it was on around 5am here and I rarely relish getting up that early for any reason. To be fair I doubt I would have watched it had I been in England either. Don't get me wrong, I don't wish them any harm. But to be honest I find it difficult to get excited about any nuptials, so those of strangers come pretty far down the list. I'm not girlie, I don't care how she looked in her dress, and spotting the outfits sported by the Beckhams and the other 'celebrities' is not my cup of tea.

Strangely, I am entertained by spotting bizarre tributes to the knot-tying, be it the royal wedding sick bags, or this little wonder at the Tulip festival this week:

Truly marvellous don't you think?! Just consider yourselves lucky that I couldn't get the side with Princess Di holding a baby Will in the same shot.....

I'll leave you with some actual tulips to cleanse your palate:

129/365 Oops - Wednesday

Well look at that, just as soon as I catch up I fall behind again. Life has been a little hectic this week, well hectic on my scale anyway. So for Wednesday I give you this picture of the leaves of spring appearing, reds and greens. So pretty.

I took this on the way back from the Vets with the little man, who has passed his annual check-up with flying colours. This shouldn't really be a huge surprise as in the last year he has had what feels like a dozen trips to them with various other problems, so there shouldn't really have been anything else to find.

Apart from the fact that he is approximately 10% over weight and we should reduce his meal sizes.....I am very glad that I don't know what percentage overweight I am as I feel it would probably mean giving up whole meals!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

128/365 - Caught up!

Some time to myself this evening. Not to say I haven't enjoyed the manic-fit-in-as-much-as-you-can-crazyness of the last week or so, but a quiet evening with pap on the tele and the knitting needles was just what the doctor ordered.

Early to bed with a trashy book and plans to be asleep before finishing a page....night all. x

127/365 Fancy dress

After much deliberation, we decided on the Civilisation museum for the 'last afternoon in Ottawa' activity. I do love this museum, and on a beautifully sunny Monday it was the perfect place to wander to and browse.

Not only are the contents of the museum fascinating (and great for practising your photography, head over to flickr for far too many totem pole shots), the building itself is a favourite of mine, and the light was particularly pleasing today.

But, my Monday photo(s) are not of carvings or sculptures, but rather of examples of what happens when two 'adults' get let loose in a children's museum without proper infant supervision - FANCY DRESS!

James wanted to be a tree:

(and sadly is too young to remember the advert that that statement conjures up in my head. Sadly all Prudential adverts seem to be on youtube except this one.....although I have had fun sniggering at 'we want to be together' whilst searching for it. Apologies to non-english readers, and those over 21 apparently!).

And I want to be an owl:

If you look closely you can even see that I'm mid hoot in this picture.

There may have been a moment whilst wearing the costumes when the lights cut out and the museum alarms started going off.

But we didn't squeal like naughty children.

Honest guv.

Monday, 9 May 2011

126/365 Sunday is a day for activity

- In my defence I wrote this on Monday night and the internet went doolally, so I was only a day behind, honest! -

.....still catching up for the weekend, and this should really be a long long post with details of the activities from Sunday. However it is now Monday evening and I risk falling behind if I don't catch up, and have to weigh this against the fact our guest is still here and probably doesn't want to spend his last evening in Ottawa watching me type....

So here is a shot of the men with the ATV.

A few pointers on this photo:
30 seconds later the ATV broke down and refused to move. The men spent the afternoon tinkering (even reverting to using the Manual, this was a serious matter).

The men have also just requested that I photoshop some logs onto the back of the trailer to make it look like they are hauling more. They feel they look like wusses using an ATV to pull a canoe.

They are right.

They looked much more manly playing with a chainsaw later in the day, but I don't have any photos of that. Ho hum.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

125/365 Porcupines ahoy!

What an animal-y week we've had. Finally a porcupine spot today - yes a live one!

Struck me as very sloth-like, just with needles, lots of them. Apparently (according to the much-loved mammal book) they have ~ 30,000 of them. There is your mammal fact of the day.

Off to the cottage for a weekend of manly pursuits (for the boys) and hammocking for me. Fabulous indeed.

I'm far too sleepy to write properly at present, and have a glass of whisky to sup and good company to enjoy. But I think this piccie sums up what I love about this place and why we keep going back. More tomorrow. x

Friday, 6 May 2011

124/365 Mistaken Identities

This morning I spotted an American Marten, small brown, running around like a mad thing. I managed to get a couple of blurry shots:

This one isn't particularly clear but the water looks so beautiful that this is the one I'm sharing.

Turns out its not a marten, that was wishful thinking. Yes it is a mink, which I'm sure you all spotted. Still a new spot for me though even if
I didn't know what he was.

Thankfully this is the only mistaken identity of the day, and I successfully collected the right red head at the train station this afternoon. To be fair, I would have taken home anyone dopey enough not to run away from my double-arm-waving/stood-on-one-leg/looking-like-a-tit effort to get his attention, and he copied it - winner!

Off canoeing and camp-firing for the weekend. Back soon. x

Thursday, 5 May 2011

123/365 A third of the way through....

Yes indeedy, we are a third of the way through the year, just over in fact. How has it been for you? Good I hope, for the most part it has been here. Only a couple of days when I've been reduced to taking photos of the freezer door anyway!

I don't mean to be smug(!), but however your year is going, unless you have seen at least one peacock carved out of a Butternut Squash, then you need to put more effort in. Just saying.

(Courtesy of the Byward Fruit Market, whose lovely ladies didn't even crack a smirk when I asked to photograph it, at least not before I left anyway. Thank you ladies.)

122/365 Ontari-ari-ari-o

It's the place to stand, the place to grow, Ontari-ari-ari-o. Sing it with me everyone:

Obviously not my video, but I've loved it since they played it monthly at the start of the Canadian Cult Revue film nights at the Mayfair.

Anyway, linked to that is my photo for Wednesday:

Which is the Ontario emblem (on a pillary thing downtown), which in turn goes with the news that we'll be staying on a little longer.....you can decide for yourselves whether that is good or bad news depending on where you are and whether you want us back/rid of us!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

121/365 Beaver!

Hello, my name is Derek the beaver, and I live down the road, in the river (no surprises there!).

I like wood.

Oh, and swimming.

But mostly I like wood.

And I can be relied upon to pose for photos at the least convenient times, specifically when you actually have to get home for an appointment.

But I am fairly cute in a soggy, hairy, toothy kind of way.

Did I mention I like wood?

120/365 A rock and roll monday evening

7pm - Check library books online, pants, one left and its due back tomorrow.
7:01pm Try and renew, someones requested it - Agh!
7:02 pm Initiate - get-this-book-read-in-one-night plan
10:15pm Finished - hoorah!

We've been reading the Unfortunate Event Series, by Lemony Snickett. Number 6, The Ersatz Elevator contained the usual mix of quirky vocabulary, sticky situations and inventing. They are probably seen as formulaic, but we love them.

So Monday evening, we cracked through it. Our ingredients for the perfect book-reading session:
* left over home-made apple pie,
* cookie-dough ice-cream
* Chris' fabulous scotch-flavoured fudgey sauce that we found in the back of the fridge and seems to be fine (must be the alcohol content!)
* Tara's fabulous cardamom and vanilla vodka, also in the back of the fridge and pretty darn potent but delicious
* At least one blanket per person (modelled here are the hammock blanket, and the dalek blanket)
* A patient dog.
* Suitable background music, we find that Late Junction via i-player usually provides us with the perfect selection.

Alternate chapters til you're done. Go to bed. Job done.

PS. I still have a couple of duck postcards to catch up on, you have not been forgotten. And I won't be running another round til I catch up!

Monday, 2 May 2011

119/365 Urban scavenging...

Hmm.....what is this strange figure up to?

Inspecting the local lawns?

Aha! Urban scavenging once more, two very fine paddles Mr. P. Lovely job.

It always strikes me as bizarre the things people leave out for trash/freecycling, but bizarre in a fabulous way!

A less rushed day today, with my the attendance of my first ever bridal shower in the afternoon. A very enjoyable affair with lots of lovely ladies, and I managed to behave myself, apart from when my overly-competitive-genes kicked in and I beat a three year old in a competition. i am not proud of myself. But if you were at my childhood birthday parties you will realise that it would have been much messier if I had lost instead.


Sunday, 1 May 2011

118/365 Busy busy!

There is no way that I would have posted a photo of us eating chips in B&Q carpark when we lived in England. But poutine in Canadian Tyre parking lot? Classy!

Spent the morning buying P a new bike, hoorah! He cycled around the store, tried on every helmet to find the perfect fit (despite the fact that post haircut they'll all be too big!), and rung every bell until he had the perfect 'ping'. (It's like shopping with a small child who sets off all the animated toys in toys'r'us!). But the trip was successful, and we treated ourselves to a Canadian delicacy before heading home.

The evening was double-booked, with yet another cultural outing and a party to fit in. Despite this clash of schedules (for people with such little social lives I have no idea how we end up in this mess!) it was a great evening.

First to the NAC for a screening of Guy Maddin's Tales from the Gimli Hospital. The screening was organised as part of the prairie scene festival, and featured live music (12 beautiful Icelandic ladies with various string instruments); a three strong sound effects team and the fabulously creepy and expressive Udo Kier narrating. Any evening involving the slapping of plastic fish together and the curing of ailments by rubbing dead seagulls on your chest is an evening to remember!
Post-viewing Mr. Maddin himself answered questions from the audience, he is funny, charming, self-deprecating and fairly batty. I think I'm in love (again!).

Then off to a leaving party for C and S, who are off to the big smoke of Toronto. Science talk had been banned for the evening, and it is amazing the other forms of geekery that surface when this occurs - we covered chess; trees; birds (guess who?) and car parts.....and despite all this it was indeed a very enjoyable evening. We rolled (or cycled) home for 1:45 am - yes A.M.!!!!! I couldn't handle nights out that late at 18, let alone 31. Disgraceful behaviour.

But fun once in a while.

And it meant that I could 'pinch punch' the family first for a change - win win!