Friday, December 31, 2010

A Rough Start to the Last Day

Mike: "So, how did it go?"
Me: "Oh, I passed out."

That's how the last day of 2010 began for me.  A little background for you.  About a month ago or maybe a little more, I went to a new doctor for a get-to-know-you meeting.  Before an official check-up, she wanted me to have a routine blood test.  No problem for most people.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people.  I have a thing about blood, blood and needles even more so.  So I put it off.  it didn't need to be done on New Year's Eve.  I'm sure my doctor was confident it would be done well before today.    She was wrong.  I waited until I thought I could wait no more and reasonably expect that she would have the results for my appointment in a couple of weeks.  Add to my fear (rational or irrational) that I had to fast for 12 hours prior to the test.  I don't do well without food.   Ask Mike.  To add insult to injury, my mom also told me that included tea.  What?!  But I always make myself a cup of tea once the boys are in bed.  Every night.  Without fail.  Okay, fine, no tea but I'm going to be there first thing in the morning.

Fast forward to this morning.  I sleep in a little bit because if I wake up at my usual time, I'm going to want coffee. I arrive two minutes after the lab opens.  As the technician leads me to the room and I sit, I explain to the poor woman that I'm not very good at this.  "Do you faint?"  "Not usually, as long as I don't watch.  Please don't be offended that I can't look at you."  Snap of the blue elastic band.  Using her fingers, she looks for a vein.  Not that arm.  yes, this is the arm.  I look in the opposite direction.  I'm looking at the table holding the items she needs.  Not good.  Close my eyes.  Breathe.  It doesn't hurt but I know what she's doing.  Deeper breaths.  "Just so you know, I'm feeling a little faint."  "Do you want me to stop?"  "No, I just want to get this over."  Go to my happy place.  I don't know where my happy place is at this moment.   Next thing I know my head is between my feet and there is an ice pack on the back of my neck.  There is now a second technician there.  "I'll put the tape on but I don't know if it's going to stick.  She's so sweaty.  I'll get her a lollipop."   After ten minutes, I feel much better.  I thank them for their kindness and leave a little more humbled.  As mike said, i did get a lollipop out of it.

One short half an hour is not going to ruin my day.  After breakfast, we go for a walk.  I think the chickadees knew I had had a rough morning, even if it was my own fault.

While others will be raising a glass to the new year, tonight I will be raising my mug of tea.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ice and Swans

What began as a trip to the grocery store became a trip to the lake as we stepped outside and realized what a beautiful morning it was.  I grabbed my camera, we stopped for muffins and then walked down to the lake.

We may not have much snow here yet but it has still been cold enough to turn the lake shore into an ice shore.

The boys were pretty excited by the crunchy ice and we didn't move far from this spot.

Did you know that two boys, aged almost 5 and 6 and a half, don't believe their mother when she tells them the rocks might be slippery and that if they get too close to the edge, the ice might not hold their weight?  It's true.  They don't believe her until they try it themselves.  Fortunately, no one was lost in the lake.

The numerous swans, geese and ducks thought the boys were throwing food in the water, not ice.  It didn't take long before we had many visitors.  this juvenile swan was especially interested in Keegan.

Impromptu outings.  My favourite.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Becoming Reacquainted

I'm starting to think that Christmas food should have its own group on the Food guide.  Cookies, chocolate, wine.  Since becoming vegetarian a couple of years ago, my favourite holiday food has been missing on my seasonal plate -- gravy.  Not any more, my friends, not any more.  Honestly, I don't miss the turkey but I was becoming a little resentful of others' gravy laden plates.  So this year, I decided to try whipping up some mushroom gravy along with Tofurkey.  Yep, I said Tofurkey (my family still can't pronounce it) and I speak the truth when I say that it was pretty good.  But this is all about the gravy.  Oh, gravy, how I have missed you.    And now you are back.  As a result, this Christmas season, I not only indulged in sweets but I also indulged a little more than usual when it came to the Christmas Day feast for the mushroom gravy was good, really good.  Oh, gravy.  I swear you could slather it on bread and make it a meal.  Oh, wait.  I did do that.

So after becoming reacquainted with gravy, I decided that I should become reacquainted with my old friend yoga.  I awoke early this morning, still with a full belly, and unrolled my yoga mat while the rest of the house slept.  It was quiet.  Aside from a couple of times, I think I can say that I haven't practiced yoga in about 2 years.  I just stopped making the time.  And when you are on the cusp of turning 40, well, two years can mean quite a difference in one's flexibility.  My body didn't move into the postures quite as naturally as they have in the past but that didn't hinder my enjoyment of my early morning yoga.

Two lovely old friends.  Hopefully, I will enjoy one more often than the other.  Yes, I am talking about yoga but the prospect of poutine may be in my near future.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Upcycled Gift Tags

Quite a few factors contribute to what is becoming my own personal gift wrapping tradition -- making gift tags.  First, I do like to make things.  Second, I'm frugal, okay, cheap.  I just don't like to spend my money on  something when I know I can make a similar item.  Third, I'm forgetful and often use to just forget to buy tags.  And finally, I'm a little bit lazy and when I do remember the gift tags, I just don't feel like running out to the store to buy them.  The first year I made my own gift tags, I was led down the path to making by the last two reasons.  Since then, the first two reasons have taken over.

Each year, I save any Christmas cards we have received.  Then using my mini paper cutter, scissors, a hole punch and this little thing that rounds out corners (can't remember what it's called; I'm sure there is a more technical name), I simply cut images out of the cards.  That's it.  Simple.  Completely doable on Christmas Eve when I should probably have all the gifts wrapped but don't.

Happy gift wrapping!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Library of my Own

"We can imagine the books we'd like to read, even if they have not yet been written, and we can imagine libraries full of books we would like to possess, even if they are well beyond our reach, because we enjoy dreaming up a library that reflects every one of our interests and every one of our foibles -- a library that,in its variety and complexity, fully reflects the reader we are."
                                                       Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted my own library.  I have fond memories of visiting the library when I was a child.  I still remember taking the elevator to the second floor of the building where the library was located.  I still remember the view of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, as I looked out of those second floor windows.  I still remember the huge pile of books my mother and I would return home with each time.  I think this is a safe place to admit that I may have even played librarian a couple of times.  Okay, fine, I alphabetized my books and each book may have had a little label on it, reminiscent of the Dewey decimal system.  I have since passed some of those books onto my boys, with their little labels and the name of my stuffies and dates when the book should be returned written on the inside cover.  They, of course, asked what it meant.  When I explained it, I was met with silence.  They may love books but that game seemed to boggle them.  Oh well, as they grow older, I'm sure they will learn more things about me that they will accept silently. I will do the same in return.

My dreams of having my own library continue -- a room in which all the walls are bookshelves, a nice big comfy chair and a good lamp.  It could happen.  I have a room in mind but it's going to be a while.  Said room now serves as a play area.  So at the moment, I am happy with my library being scattered throughout our house -- the kitchen the living room, the dining room.  It doesn't matter.  It's still my library.

Happy Winter Solstice!  I did not wake up in the middle of the night to watch the lunar eclipse but I was greeted by a spectacular moon this morning anyways.

Friday, December 17, 2010


peppermint bark
lemon bars
After baking for the family get-together tomorrow which has changed venues from our house to my mom's house due to the fact that our septic system is kaput ("i'm not thinking about it, i'm not thinking about it."  Sometimes ignorance brings a little bit of bliss.  Briefly.),  i got outside for a few minutes of . . . the outdoors.

Even though I am following in the footsteps of others, sometimes I like to think I am the first person to notice that berry.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny for Yarn Along this week.  On the needles is a candy cane striped sock.  I'm hoping to knit a pair for each of the boys for Christmas.  My purpose is as an extra layer of warmth inside their boots.  I know that they will use them to skate around the house, possible colliding into furniture and walls.

I am currently reading Maragret Atwood's latest novel The Year of the Flood.  To those who may not know her work, Atwood is kind of the rock star of Canadian lit.  I was first introduced to her in university and she is brilliant.  Having said that, this book was on my nightstand for almost a year before I picked it up.  Having finally done so, I regret not reading it earlier.  I am really enjoying it.  Love her word play and biting humour.  I highly recommend her books if you were looking for an introduction to Canadian lit.  Now I'm off to see what others are knitting and reading this week.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tea and Cookies

I am a knitter.  Simple.  Knitting relaxes me.  I enjoy the feeling that I can be productive while sitting on my behind.  i like the tools of the trade -- the yarns, the needles, the baskets I use to store my projects.  I especially like the resulting fabric with its simple stitches that, when together, produce fabrics that are as diverse as they yarns that can be found -- light and breezy, warm and squishy, even rugged.  But every now and then, I find myself being pulled in the direction of a crochet hook.  Unlike knitting, it's not always the resulting fabric or the process itself since I often feel like I have gnarly old hands after only a short time of crocheting.  What gets me is the shapes that can be made with crochet.

Last spring, I made one of these tea sets for a special birthday girl.  Recently, another friend asked if I would make one for her little girl for Christmas.  I was only too happy to oblige.

The pattern is from Ana Paula Rimoli's book Amigurumi Two! (I will add a link shortly when I remember how.  I am not tech savvy and just don't have the mental energy at the moment to figure it out.)  It's a really cute book and the boys will often browse through it and pick out things they want me to make them.  If only I had that much time!  The cookies are my own pattern and are so much fun to make.

Our advent stocking of the day:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Still Counting the Days

We are, of course, still counting down the days to the Big Day.  In fact, last night, Quinnie was awake from 2:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. because he couldn't stop thinking about Christmas.  I thought it was rather cute the first couple of times he came into our room.  After two hours, it lost its cuteness and, well, I'd rather not talk about it.  I did make a large pot of coffee this morning though.

I've been trying to incorporate  Christmas crafts and activities into our advent calendar this year with some success.  My little guy is not always interested in crafting but gladly eats the chocolates.  Although my oldest could craft all day, at the end of the school day, he doesn't always have the energy or focus.  The one thing they have agreed on is decorating the tree.  We got our tree Saturday and trimmed it early Sunday morning.

A successful Christmas craft -- needle felted ornaments.

Keegan has been wanting to try needle felting for months and I finally got up the nerve to give it a try.  With the help of a cookie cutter, it was quite easy and, most importantly, painless.

The boys are not the only ones who were excited by the arrival of the tree and the many swinging, jingling, hanging trinkets associated with the tree.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pebbles and Light

In the gloom of this afternoon, I had an urge to put a tealight in an old glass jar.  I knew exactly which jar I wanted to use.   I found the jar perhaps ten years ago in a little consignment shop in Guelph, Ontario but have since lost its glass lid.   I love this jar.  The only problem is it is a fairly tall jar, too tall and thin to reach your hand into and light a candle.  Fortunately, i collect stones and pebbles, most of which I keep in a large bowl all together.  I like having them in the bowl because it makes them accessible when you just want to play with them or look at them.  However, all of my small stones fall to the bottom and are overlooked.  Those overlooked pebbles, shells and bits of sea glass have become the focal points, the stars, of my new lantern.

I'm looking forward to the darkness tonight.