Friday, December 10, 2010

Nintendo Wii is Mean

I've never owned a scale, but last year around this time I decided to buy Wii fit to encourage me to be more active at home.  I dropped my gym membership a few months earlier and I knew I had to do something to keep active.  Things went great at first, but then I gained a few pounds.  The next thing I knew that mean Wii was yelling at me all the time.

"It's been 7 days, where have you been? You know you're just gonna get fat if you don't get your a** in gear."  "Hey lazy, want some fitness tips?"  "You've gained a bazillion pounds since your last visit."  "You're not very good at this -- maybe if you showed up you'd get more practice."  "You're overweight."

Pretty soon the mean machine had me so down on myself I only wanted to play Mario.  So this summer I started doing some running.  I really enjoyed it!  My goal was 3 times per week, but it happened more like twice a week.  That was okay though, I was having fun.  Then when it started getting dark at 4:00 PM I decided I had to give it up for awhile.  I may still try to get a run in now and then on the weekend, but I'm not that confident in the snow either.  SO, it was back to the Wii.  "It's been 200 days since your last visit... and you've gained weight... and you're unbalanced... you suck."  MEAN!

Since Wii tells me my weight in kgs, I always just gave it the benefit of the doubt.  You know what though?  That POS has been giving me a hard time for no good reason.  I have always thought I was at my healthiest when I was working in childcare.  I was outside at least twice a day, and active all day every day.  I also ate about 7 or 8 times per day (including usually 2 lunches!), napped on my breaks, and was still pretty exhausted when I got home.  Despite all the snacking, I stayed pretty slender during that period of my life.  So when I went back to school, and then eventually got a desk job, I naturally started putting on a bit of weight, and you know what?  I don't fit into a size 2 or 4 anymore, and maybe my bikini days are over.  And getting rid of my size 2 and 4 clothes has been sad, but such is life.

So today I decided to face the fear the Wii has instilled in me and do a kg/lb conversion online.  I've gained about 8 lbs since my daycare days (4 years ago).  8 lbs in four years.  So it would be nice to lose 8 lbs at some point in the next 4 years, but SERIOUSLY -- I've been letting a game system bully me over 8 measly pounds?

I'm over it.  Pass the chocolate truffles.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Love

Ladies, if you're feeling a bit under appreciated at home can I suggest baking?  This is a conversation that happened at my house this afternoon:

Jason: Whatcha doin'?
Me: I was just thinking about baking some cookies.
Jason: Cookies? Mmm!  What kind?
Me: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
Jason: God dammit, I love you!

Here is the recipe I use, but I make a few small changes.  Start with cold butter, cut into cubes.  Beat the cold butter with an egg beater until it's rich, creamy and whipped (2-3 mins).  Add the sugar and beat until well mixed, scraping sides.  Continue adding the ingredients as listed using the beater.  You may need to stir in the oatmeal, but if you can get away with it just use the beater for that too.  I reduce the baking soda to 3/4 tsp and the salt to 1/4 tsp.  I also substitute the chocolate chips with dark chocolate chips.  Yum!

What's a snow day without home baked cookies :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Well, NakniSweMo has come and gone, and I'm still working on my Sweater For Scarlett.  The pattern called for knitting the top first, then sleeves, then the body.  I was getting really frustrated with the sleeves though, so I procrastinated working on them.  Eventually I decided it wasn't worth it, and I've started on the body.  I'll go back to the sleeves at the end.  I'm going to work on it over the weekend and hopefully have it done by next week.  I feel like it just needs a few solid hours, but I also need to get in a few hours of house work :S  We'll see which gets done.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drama Dog

It seems whenever we find ourselves too busy to spend much time at home, Mosely compounds the problem of his temporary abandonment by doing something dramatic.  I thought he'd really tested the limits of dog drama last year when he managed to find and devour not one, but FOUR BAGS of chocolate kisses.  We were so worried about him, we called the vet, bought special upset-tummy biscuits, and I left work early to keep an eye on him.  Apart from some gas and extreme hyper behaviour, he was fine.

Earlier this week Moe escaped the confines of the dining room to find half a Lindt Dark Chocolate and Fleur de Sel bar, which he inhaled.  Jason was a little worried, this being a dark chocolate mishap.  I was not.  Did I mention he ate FOUR BAGS of various kinds of kisses?  Four bags would be enough to put me into a chocolate coma.  That same evening he did laps around the living room and started throwing toys at us.

Then yesterday he found 5 sugar cookies I had completely forgotten about in one of my work bags.  Before I tell you about the nickname we've given our precious pooch, I should tell you we know we are completely, 100% responsible for our dog's misdeeds.  Chocolate should be kept up high in a place requiring opposable thumbs to get at, ditto for cookies, and we should make sure we are home before our dog gets bored enough to get into mischief.

We love him to death and are very aware of his attention needs -- and he's not a needy dog at all.  All he asks for is food, water, a few minutes outside each day and not to be left alone for 10 or more straight hours.  And maybe throw a toy around and give him a cuddle every few days.  We're usually pretty good, but this time of year seems to be when we get busy with a lot of after-work stuff.  I'll try to make it up to him this weekend.  

His nickname, by the way is A**hole.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Really Long Rant About Ageism

Discrimination and presumptuous comments based on age is a big problem for me.  It's one of my biggest pet peeves.  Last week I was at an event and an "older gentleman" thought it necessary to comment that I am way too young to be married.  I couldn't think of a clever come back, so I just shrugged and said, "Hey, I was older than my parents were when they got married."  He retorted that was probably because my parents were just a couple of horny teenagers.

Apart from the obvious, let me begin to break down the problems with this conversation:
- At no point had I mentioned or made reference to my age.
- My parents were college graduates both starting out in their careers when they got married.
- I was a university graduate starting on my second career when Jason and I married.
- What difference does it make how old I was or how old I am in reference to anything I choose to do?!

I personally feel that attitudes about childhood and youth in our culture have created at much extended "coming of age" that is, in my opinion, to our detriment.

Historically speaking, children were once regarded as small adults, but fully capable of working inside or outside of the home for the benefit of the family.  Toys and games were designed for the wealthy, and generally children and adults played and took part together.  While it was known that children required instruction and training of some kind, by their early teens they were regarded as adults -- capable of marriage, running a business, or taking the throne.

Fast-forward to the current day, and a Toronto-based TV show featuring a house full of twenty-somethings promises to show us what it's like to "grow up" in Toronto.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to advocate for shorter periods of schooling, or teen marriages.  But I do think at some point in the evolution of our thoughts on childhood we started looking at children as little idiots rather than little adults.  Kids are so much smarter, and more aware, and more capable than we give them credit for.  I don't think six and seven year olds should be expected or permitted to work in mines or serve on battle fields.  I do have a problem with a culture that doesn't allow eleven and twelve year olds to have a paper route or work on the family farm.  See below for the rights and freedoms our children should, but don't always seem to have.

No, in the current day we expect our "children" to continue their studies and delay all forms of work until they are nearly 30.  And then we wonder why they have trouble leaving the nest.  I'm sorry, but at 20 you're no longer "growing up" in Toronto -- you're an adult!  You've grown!  Your shenanigans and antics are not stepping stones on the way to being a grown up, it's just who you are.

I have to give my parents credit where it's due, they obviously did something right.  My 21-year-old sister manages a group of employees, some of whom are high school aged.  She was telling me this weekend about a Mom of one of the employees who calls and emails her on a regular basis to discuss her daughter's work.  Her top complaint -- her daughter is mature enough to handle more responsibility on the job.  My sister replied that when her daughter is mature enough to ask for it herself, then they can talk about giving her more responsibility.  Can you imagine?  That would be like my Mom emailing my boss to say I deserve a raise.  Hey, maybe I can get my Mom to sit on the Salary and Benefits Committee at work to negotiate a salary increase.  My sister also told me when she sends out the weekly schedule she has to send it several parents.

Of course, when I worked in undergraduate recruitment I saw all forms of helicopter-parentism.  Everything from the worrying hoverer to the intrusive "stealth fighter" parents.  Good grief, cut the cord already!  NEWSFLASH -- by the time your child reaches university, he or she is a fully functioning adult, capable of making his or her own decisions.  If that is not the case, you've done something wrong.  I once had a lengthy conversation with a Mom who wanted to know what her son should take in first year if he was going to get in to both the Richard Ivey Business School AND dental school.  I asked what her son was interested in and she scoffed, "Nothing.  He hates school -- he only likes video games."  Bummer Mom, but your little high achiever who has no academic aspirations probably isn't going to get his MBA or pursue oral surgery, and he certainly isn't going to do both.

You may think I'm being a bit harsh, and you may be feeling sorry for any future, hypothetical children I might have.  Fair enough, but before I end rant, let's talk about biology for a minute.

The human brain undergoes two major periods of growth and change (after birth).  The first happens around the ages of 2 - 3.  We know this time is important for language acquisition and a number of other important skills.  The second major growth period happens at different times for different people, but usually between ages 15 - 18.  This is why, despite my argument that we don't give children and young people enough credit for their capabilities, you will never hear me advocate for lowering the drinking age.  We know there is a LOT of important stuff happening to the teenage brain, but we actually know very little about what's taking place.  After this period the human has stopped developing biologically.  That's it, welcome to your adult body/mind. I hope you treated them well up to this point.

Another biological phenomenon I find interesting, especially when talking about people in their 20s and 30s is fertility.  Consider the following charts from the World IVF Website:

The news no woman wants to hear, but here it is: your optimal childbearing years are 18 - 25.  By the time a woman is 30 (the age deemed appropriate for motherhood by our society) she is entering into her "moderate risk" pregnancy years and has a greater chance of miscarriage, complications, and of bearing a child with chromosomal abnormalities.  Is it any wonder 1 in 6 North Americans will have trouble conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term?

And yet, somehow at 26 I am considered by some to be "too young to be married".

Clearly this extended period of youth is a social construction and not based on fact, ability or biology.

Young people, stop thinking of yourselves as youths.  Sure, you may feel like you still have a lot to learn about life, but welcome to the club.  The minute you stop learning is the minute you stop fully participating in your world.  Stand up for yourself and don't let someone else stand up for you or tell you what to do because they're older.  You're as much an adult at 20 as you'll ever be, you just need to start acting like one, and demanding to be treated like one.

People over 35, stop patronizing the younger generation.  Be better mentors by setting a good example and letting younger people make their own mistakes.  Parents, stop setting up guard rails for your children.  I know, you don't want to see them fall on their faces, but if you've done your job well they'll be okay.  Let them jump, and if they fall they'll get back up.

End of rant.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I was doing so well eating healthy yesterday, until my dear friend Kate came over with a box of Turtles chocolates and a big bag of Swedish Berries.  Sigh. 

Today was a bit better (though I did have to finish off the rest of the Turtles with my sister, Mel).

Late Breakfast:
- 1 egg, 3 strips bacon, 1 slice toast with jam
- Tea & juice

- 1 blueberry rhubarb muffin
- Tea

- Roast beef, salad, sweet potato hash browns
- Juice
- The last Turtle chocolate ;)

I had a nice sleep in this morning (that's what Saturdays are made for!), before Jason and I went on a nice long walk around town.  It was chilly, but gorgeous, and we wished we'd thought to bring the camera.  We finally discovered one of St. Marys famous walking paths and it was gorgeous.  As much as I loved the walk though, I'm doubtful about ever riding a bike in St. Marys.  Good gravy, the hills are intense!  Jason thinks I'll come around, but I'm not so sure.  When we got home I whipped up a barley casserole for later in the week, and some muffins for our lunches.  My sister came over just as they were coming out of the oven.  We spent the rest of the afternoon folding laundry and just hanging out.  It was a perfect Saturday!  The muffin recipe was inspired by the one on with a few tweaks.  I'll post it once I've gotten it out of my head and on paper!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Healthy Eating Blog

I know I usually save the healthy eating blogging for February (heart health month!), but I'm getting an early start this year.  My major eating shortcomings are related to sweets, although I do sometimes over-snack and eat carb-heavy meals.  I'm going to try to start eating healthier now to avoid some of the pounds that are bound to find my hips over the holidays.  I got off to a lame start yesterday when I had a scrambled egg, 2 strips of bacon, beet/apple/ginger juice and... a chocolate croissant for breakfast.  It was breakfast on the road and I didn't get lunch until 3:00 PM, so I did have a legitimate excuse to carb up.

Today I'm off to a good start, so we'll call this day 1.

Raisin Bran & green tea

Oatmeal & plain yogourt

Chicken w/tomatoes & avocado and garlic rice
A juice box

Emergency Resource/Afternoon Snack:
A banana

This probably seems like a lot of food (and maybe it is), but if there's one thing I know about myself it's that I need to eat.  I need my snacks - if my blood-sugar dips I get shaky, irritable, light headed, tired and all-around hangry.  And nobody wants me to be hangry.  I haven't quite decided what's for dinner yet, but there's a good chance it will also involve chicken.  Maybe that's gross, but ya gotta eat what's in the fridge!  I have no plans to reduce my food intake, just to make it healthier.

Since we all know how I feel about baked goods, I want to whip up something healthy soon.  I have frozen rhubarb, blueberries and raspberries in the freezer as well as some overripe bananas on the counter.  The possibilities are endless!

I'm going to need to keep up this healthy eating gig too -- I'm surrounded by germs and my coworker is hacking something fierce as I type.  Please pass the Purell.

#NaKniSweMo is coming along great!  One false start and a bit of back-knitting so far, but I'm just about ready to separate out the sleeves on my bebe sweater!  I hope to have it done by next weekend so I can start on hubby's sweater.  Yay!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So I'm giving myself a failing grade for #NaBloPoMo.  Sorry guys -- it's been crazy.  And thought it's been NBD, the commuting really does cut into spare time.

That being said, tonight I will cast on my #NaKniSweMo project!  I did some research this aft, and I feel like I'm ready to start.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Small Town FTW

Eeek!  The day's almost over and I almost forgot to blog again!

I have to say it's only been a few days, but I am so loving being in a small town again.

We took Mosely to the St. Marys Santa Claus Parade last night.  It was his first parade, and he did alright!  Of course he did some typical Mosely whining, whimpering and "singing" along with all the sirens, but I think he had a good time.  He especially enjoyed the Shriners looping around in their tiny cars.  It was a good time and it reminded me of parades gone by in other small towns.  Parents waved from the streets as their children marched, danced or "floated" by.  People jumped out of the parade to say hi to friends on the street, and a few randoms joined the parade to do the same.  And even though we knew no one, people said hi, petted Mosely and treated us like - well, neighbours.  It was great. 

Those of you who know me very well may have heard me lament about my pet peeve with grocery stores.  I really feel the grocery store industry did a huge disservice to the economy, consumers and society in general when they did away with the bag boy.  You know, that nice young man who used to put your groceries in the bags and then help you take them out to your car?  He had a system for putting the items in the bags -- he didn't just throw them in there!  It was like a strategic game of tetris (which I should add I've been playing a lot of lately).  Everything had to fit perfectly without making the bags too heavy or damaging any of the merchandise.  When the bag boys were let go this task was left to the cashiers, but they didn't have the skill or know-how to pack bags -- and they certainly can't help you get your stuff to the car.  Now it seems the consumer is most often responsible for bagging his or her own groceries.  What a pain in the arse!

Today I went to the local big-box grocery store, McDonald's Independent, which is just like a Super Store.  My first pleasant surprise was being able to park near the entrance on a Saturday afternoon, but that small delight was dwarfed by my elation at seeing extra staff at the check outs whose specific duty was to assist in the bagging of groceries!  There were about three cashiers on duty, plus this extra gentleman who seemed to be helping out with older customers.  I wondered if he would help them to their cars if asked.  True, I didn't personally benefit from the presence of this bagging professional, but my cashier did an excellent job helping me pack my groceries.  She put boxes with boxes, fruit with fruit and handed me the eggs to carry out.  Just to compare, at my grocery store in London I usually get the cashier with the deep smoker's voice and the only words she ever says to me are "Cart or pick up?" as she hastily throws laundry detergent in the bag with bread and grapes.

As with any small town though, there are downsides.  In the short time we've been here I've already seen at least 4 NASCAR jackets.  Not run of the mill driver fan gear either -- I saw one for Hendrick's Motor Sports, one for Dupont with a 24 and one for Office Depot with a 14 on the sleeve.  These are serious fans.  Hopefully I can avoid them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Settling In

I haven't posted a blog (or knit a stitch) in days!  Terrible, I know, but before you start calling me a failure and a liar, let me just remind you I'm in the middle of moving.  Gimme a break.

So, we moved into the new place on Wednesday with the help of some wonderful, amazing, fantastic friends and family.  I can't thank them enough for helping make our move so smooth and enjoyable.  I didn't stress about a thing!

Under normal circumstances I would say I hate moving.  It usually involves several days of looking like shite, being surrounded by well-intentioned but less than thrilled people who are all looking at you for some kind of direction.  Add to that the fact that you have no access to your creature comforts, your former routine is terminated and any sense of privacy is out the window.  That was not the case with this move at all!  Except maybe for the looking like shite bit -- I even had to do without a mirror yesterday.

After the official move in on Wednesday, we spent yesterday running around picking up "need" items (like a mirror!) and then doing some cleaning and yard work at our "old house".  Today I am doing more unpacking and organizing, planning to register a P.O. Box and do groceries later, and then hoping to catch the St. Marys Santa Claus Parade tonight!  Our first community event!

I think we all feel at home already, but by the end of the weekend I expect we'll be unpacked and really settled in.  Even Mosely seemed to know right away that we are not on a visit, but at a new home.  After a few laps around the house and sniffing every corner, he got comfortable right away on Wednesday night.  He even seems to be doing okay without a fenced back yard for the time being and is currently fast asleep on his leash in the back yard.  There will be a few things like that for all of us to get used to, but so far things are going great :)

Monday, November 8, 2010


Well, just about everything's packed now and we're living in this strange state of transition...  It's weird living out of a suitcase in your own home.  I had a glass of wine with dinner in a coffee mug.  Our bed is taken apart and we're sleeping on a mattress on the floor.  Pictures are all packed away and the walls look naked.

All this serves to remind me that we're in a sort of transitionary point in our lives as well.  Twenty-somethings, married, no kids.  It's an awkward place to be as many people have opinions about what we should or shouldn't be doing.  We're too old for this and too young for that, etc.  Who made up these life stages anyways -- and who wants to live their life in stages?

It also makes me think of the house we're moving to in St. Marys.  It's beautiful and I love it and I can't wait to make it home!!  But it's a transitionary home as well.  We always knew our place in London would be our "starter" and we only ever planned to live here for 5 years or so.  5 1/2 years later, we're ready to move on, but not quite ready for our "forever home".  Jason and I have always dreamed of a place in the country with a few acres, a barn, a massive garden, and a few beasts.  That isn't exactly in the cards just yet, so the St. Marys place is our "in-between".  Jason wasn't initially keen on the idea of an "in-between" place, but after looking around and realizing we're still a few years from being able to afford that place in the country, he relented.  And I'm so glad he did!  It will be nice to get back to living in a small town.  St. Marys seems like a really great community.

And now I think I'm transitioning from awake to asleep very quickly and I'm worried I might be rambling... More move updates tomorrow!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Whoopsy Daisy

I completely forgot to blog yesterday and I didn't knit a stitch either.  I think I have a good excuse though -- it was the London Short Film Showcase, so I kinda had my hands full.  It was an amazing event and I couldn't be happier with the turnout!

Today I'm feeling quite tired though.

Jason's parents were just over to help us pack (it begins!!).

Mosely doesn't quite know what to make of this mess we're making...
Shortly after they left we decided to go for a late afternoon nap and I did some knitting before falling asleep.

This is the Sweet Pea Blankie I've been working on.  It's coming along quite nicely :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

London Short Film Showcase 2010!

Check out this sweet, sweet London Free Press article about the Showcase!

Many of you probably know I'm on the board for this fun London event.  What you may not know is that I was in charge of gathering silent auction items once again this year.  Let me tell you, there are a few that I will be bidding on ;)

Oh, and did I mention the first 25 in the door will get a swag bag full of, um, swag?

Be sure to check out the London Short Film Showcase tomorrow night at Museum London!

Get tickets here!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


If you're anything like me, your time is extremely valuable.  I find my days and nights overrun by activities, and all this busyness takes its toll!  Add in the move, and I'm really running at max cap.  Yesterday my genius hubby shared an idea with me that I want to share with you -- let's make this a NOvember.  If you're feeling rundown, burning out, or just too busy, use this month to say "no"**.  Even if you just say no to ONE unnecessary item on your schedule, you'll breathe a little easier this month.

Much of what is keeping me busy this month is work related and will be difficult to say no to.  I have many early morning (ugh) and late afternoon events, and one Sunday so far.  I am going to commit to not making any more work commitments outside of regular working hours this month.  WHEW!

Luckily the commitments I've made to blog and knit are both things I do for ME, so I don't have to say no to them.

Moving out of London to St. Marys will make it a bit easier to say no to some "extra-curriculars", but I do still plan to be involved in the Forest City.  I hope to also find ways to get involved in my new community... in the New Year!

Sidenote:  If you're NOT too busy and have time to spare, November is a great month to volunteer.  There are many charities and non-profits needing extra help in November and December to cope with added need and extra donation inventory around the holidays.  If you're looking for ways to be busier in the next few months, I suggest looking into volunteering for one of the following:

  • Women's Community House
  • London and Area Food Bank
  • United Way of Middlesex & London
  • The Salvation Army
  • Please suggest other organizations in need in the comments!
**Please don't say no to the London Short Film Showcase this weekend!!  It will be a great event, and tickets are available at a reduced price TODAY ONLY!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I am addicted to kijiji, the classifieds website.  This is not necessarily a new thing -- I have a reputation for searching "beagle" on the site at least once every two weeks (I can't help it, I love beagles).  With our move well underway, I have an actual, legitimate excuse for shopping.

The house that we're moving to is a bit bigger than ours, but we're also using the move as an opportunity to replace some of our old stuff with new stuff.

Take living room furniture for example: five years ago we bought a lovely couch/chair/ottoman set at Leons for something like $1200.  It was very modern and classy looking, and the salesman assured us the soft mico-suede-like fabric would be easy to wipe clean.  He lied.  Not only is it impossible to clean (even water seems to stain it), but it attracts pet hair and pets like a magnet.  And my dog drools in his sleep.  And my late cat (RIP Gordon) liked to vomit on soft surfaces.  The chair is beyond salvation, so it (and likely the ottoman) will not be making the move.  The couch will move temporarily until it can be replaced.

The new house also has no closets.  Like, not-a-single-closet-in-the-place.  Old houses are sometimes like that, so we'll be needing dressers, armoires, wardrobes, and other creative storage solutions.  So far kijiji has been a godsend in that department!

We're also planning  a big IKEA shopping trip, which I'm super excited about, but figure I might as well get what I can second hand and at antique shops first.

Before you start telling me about the evils of consumerism and how we live in a disposable culture, let me distract you with this funny parody of the IKEA Cats commercial:

I also just found out the couch I want now comes in a box, unassembled.  THAT'S gonna be awesome.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Auburn Like Anne

I did actually finish it, and just so you'll believe me, here are the pics to prove it:

Admittedly, they are not the greatest pictures, but I took them on my phone in poor lighting.  These photos were taken before weaving in, blocking and sewing on buttons, but it is complete!  I've worn it twice already and LOVE it!  The colour is really great, and it's just so comfortable.  I did the sleeves a bit short because I was paranoid about running out of yarn (and of course, ended up with lots left over).  Also, after blocking the sweater came out much longer than I expected, but it's still quite flattering.

I'll try to have @JClarkey take a picture of me the next time I'm wearing it -- it really is gorgeous!

I will be using the same pattern on a much, much smaller scale for my Sweater for Scarlett.  I'm also undecided as to whether I should do buttons on the top, like mine, or put buttons all the way down like a typical cardigan.  I'll keep you posted.  I will also be going against the legendary Elizabeth Zimmerman's recommendation to knit baby items in soft wool (which is what mine is), and I'll be making Scarlett's sweater out of a washable cotton/acrylic blend.  Having worked many years in childcare, I want her to be able to wear it while she's playing, making messes and being a kid.  For some reason a wool baby sweater seems to me like something that would be worn in church and at Christmas.  Bleh.  I'm also going to try to make it in a size 12 - 18 mos (but I'll totally be guessing as I knit) because she has more tiny baby clothes than she'll probably ever wear.

Being an Auntie is fun, but I wish she lived closer to me :(

Monday, November 1, 2010


Since I've dropped off the blogging train, I thought I might as well participate in NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.  It the month of November I will attempt to blog EVERY SINGLE DAY!  I will also be participating in NaKniSweMo, which is National Knit a Sweater Month, and @JClarkey is growing a moustache for Movember!  It's going to be a busy month for these, and other reasons.

What else is keeping me busy in November?  Well, for starters:

- The London Short Film Showcase (of which I am a board member)
- I'm moving (!!)
- 6-8 work events taking place outside of regular working hours
- And a host of other extracurriculars (Pillar Innovation Awards, a baby shower, a card making night, et al).

This all seems like a lot (even for me), but I can handle it... I think!

Unfortunately NaKniSweMo is already not off to a great start as all of my yarn has been packed for the move :S  I did just finish a sweater though, so I think I have permission to cheat a bit.  Here are my knitting goals for the month:

- Get at least halfway through the Sweet Pea Blankie I am working on for my niece, Scarlett (this is not packed and will give me something to work on until I am sufficiently unpacked)
- Knit and finish one Baby Sweater on Two Needles for Scarlett, starting by November 15
- Start on a TML Jersey for Jason by November 30

All this work will be a serious test of both my knitting abilities and my attention span, which is admittedly short.  It will also help me prepare for another Heart Health Month blog fest come February!!  I am hopeful that the knitting will help with the blog inspirations.

Here is that adorable niece I was talking about.  I think I have just enough Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Terracotta for a sweet little baby sweater.

What are you doing this month?

Friday, October 8, 2010

What ever happened to ugly people?

"All young people seem to be good looking now. When I was in college I had some friends who were ugly. I have pictures to prove it!"

Overheard this little gem and had a giggle.

- KC

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Event Planners (Behind the Scenes)

This week is a bit of a stress nightmare, as it's the week before a BIG event at work.  People seem to think I have the easiest job on the planet, and while it is pretty awesome, it has its moments.  The week leading up to an event would be one of those moments.

Here is an idea of the thoughts and emotions that precede an event:

6 Months Prior to Event: "This event is going to be AWESOME!!  It will be the BEST EVER!!  It will blow last year's event out of the water!"

3 Months Prior to Event: "Things are coming along smoothly.  This event will rock!"

2 Months Prior to Event: "Wow, this event is coming up fast.  No worries, I'll be ready, and it's going to be sooooo much fun!"

1 Month Prior to Event: "Still lots of time to prepare. This event will be at least as good as it was last year.  With luck, it may even be a bit better."

2 Weeks Prior to Event: "Jeez, there's still a lot of work to do to make sure this event is a success.  But, it'll get done.  As long as people have a good time I'll be happy with the event -- even if it's not quite as good as last year."

1 Week Prior to Event: "F* this event is going to kill me!  How am I going to get all this work done?!?!  How did we DO it last year???"

1 Day Prior to Event: "This event is going to suck.  I hope I don't get fired."

Now to add to the complexity of all these emotions, imagine they overlap for multiple events.  Now imagine you are One Week Prior to and Two Weeks Prior to the two biggest events of the year.  Yup, that's where I live right now...  So if you don't hear from me for a few weeks...  Or if you start to hear nasty rumours about me...

And for those of you who think I have the sweetest job in the world...  I do, actually.  Just don't wish you were me in the month of September.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Secret Love Affair

I love tomatoes.  My love of tomatoes goes back to the days of my childhood when I used to pick them from my parents' garden and eat them until I had cankers from the acidity.  To this day I will frequently enter the house with a mouthful of sun-warmed cherry tomatoes answering a garbled "Nuffin'" to the inevitable question, "What are you eating?"

This year when my local Metro was closing the garden centre they began giving plants away for FREE!  I couldn't resist picking up one of each kind of tomato to add to the three semi-exotic varieties I had already planted.  Here they are:

The Grape tomatoes are doing very well and make a tasty addition to salad, or just a nice snack!

The Romas are producing well, but so far everything is staying quite green.  

The Amish Paste are both bountiful and LARGE, but are also staying pretty green.  This is the first (exciting!) sign of colour on the plant.  Between these and the Romas I will be making a lot of sauce this year!  I'll also be looking for a recipe for pizza sauce.

The Green Zebras also seem to be well-producing, but slow to ripen.  These bad-boys are almost there, but still quite hard.  I can't wait to try them!

Also in the garden, but not featured here are Brandywine and Black Cherry tomatoes.  The Black Cherries are on the deck (better sun) and early producers, so I've been eating them for a few weeks.  They're delicious and perfectly snack sized!  The only problem I've noticed is they sometimes disappear at the peak of ripening.  I'm not sure if I have the dog or some other wildlife to blame for it.

I do know it's not @jclarkey munching on them because he has a strong dislike for tomatoes.  I won't say he hates them, because he does like salsa and tomato sauce, but he doesn't tolerate raw tomatoes.  I'm kind of hopeful I can convert him.  Especially given the number we'll have this year!  I also have to thank him for tending to my tomatoes.  They often grow to heights beyond my reach and he has to stake them for me.  Thanks hunny!

Garden Dilemma:
My chives are in flower right now, and I'm not too sure what to do.  We hardly use the chives so I usually try to cut the flowers as soon as they appear because they spread like weeds.  This year some local honey bees have really taken to them!  I feel bad taking food that I won't eat from someone else who's really enjoying it.  Thoughts?

P.S. Blogger is once again taking liberties with photo rotation.  It doesn't matter how I format them prior to upload, blogger seems to have a mind of its own when deciding how photos should be laid out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gone to the Dogs

I know every dog owner thinks their dog is perfect, but nothing puts things into perspective like spending time with someone else's pooch.  This weekend we had a friend's pug, Charlie, over for a sleep over.  We thought it would be a good test to see if we can handle two dogs one day.  Charlie's family is also going on an extended vacation later this year, so it was a bit of a test drive to see if he could spend a few months with us.

Charlie was a perfect gentleman for the most part.  He is a cute little guy and we loved having him visit.  Charlie seemed to like us too, for the most part.  He wasn't much of a fan of Moe.  The two dogs seemed to get along fine... when they were ignoring each other.  I was a little disappointed, as I'd hoped Mosely would get a playmate out of the deal, but I figured it wasn't terrible if they weren't too playful.  At least they'd be quiet chums.  As the day wore on it became obvious that the two dogs were not about to be any kind of chums.  Jason and I were busy working on the house this weekend, so we left them to their own devices in the backyard.  After an hour or so passed we peeked outside to see that Mosely had found a comfy spot in the shade and was sprawled out for a nap, as per usual, but Charlie was standing, staring at the back door like he'd been waiting for us to come back the whole time.  After that we decided to let him in while we worked.  He didn't get into any trouble, but just followed us around with his tongue lolling out.

None of this was really problematic...  It was just kind of worrisome, and a bit annoying.  Especially the fact that he didn't relax.  I mean really, he didn't relax.  In the 24 hours he was with us I only saw him sit when I told him to, and that was only for a few minutes.

Later on it became apparent that Charlie had some dominance issues.  He showed Mosely his tough side at dinner time by chasing him out of the kitchen with a lot of noise and a few bites.  I figured that was no big deal -- we'd just have to feed them separately.  A similar display when I threw Moe a tennis ball was another red flag.  The final straw came later that night when we had some friends over.  Charlie LOVES people (hence the following around with big eyes and lolling tongue).  He was so excited to see my friends he started spinning in circles.  Moe thought that was awesome and took it as an opportunity to play.  Charlie was not about to play, and went into full on attack mode instead.  Jason quickly grabbed Moe, but I was unable to get Charlie because he doesn't wear a collar (word to the wise -- Charlie's owner advised us that collars could cause a pugs eyes to pop out.  Seriously).  So poor Moe was unable to escape Charlie's wrath and received many pug bites.  Then he started to growl and snap back.  Lucky I grabbed Chuck when I did, or we would have had a full on dog fight on our hands!

So, that was that.  He still spent the night, but in the morning we had to tell Charlie's family that an extended stay just wouldn't work out.  In the end we realized (again) that our dog is perfect for us.  He's very chill and can relax almost anywhere.  He lays around for the better part of the day (in the sun, in the shade, on the couch, under the table, or frequently, half on-half off a dog bed).  He is quite friendly, but not overly affectionate and very independent.  Moe loves us, but he doesn't need us around all the time.  If we're watching a movie and he's tired he'll frequently get up and go to bed.  We'll often go outside to enjoy some nice weather and later realize we forgot him sleeping inside.  He doesn't need a lot of exercise, though we try to walk for 15 minutes every day with one or two longer walks each week.  In the winter it becomes much less and all our waistlines suffer for it.  He's also a well-mannered walker and I comfortably let other people walk him (even young children) without worrying he'll act up.  Sure, he has terrible door manners and is a relentless sniffer, and every once and awhile he gets into trouble, but for us no dog can compare.

I would still like to add a second dog to our family one day, but I can't help but worry that Mosely has us so spoiled we'll be in for big trouble.  What do you think?  Can a dog teach another dog how to be calm, cool and relaxed?  Or do I just have to hope for the best and see what I get?

P.S. Anyone know how to rotate a photo on blogger?  Seems a mystery.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Whoopsie Daisy...

Wow, it's been awhile since I posted...  Like, a long while.

Well, no time like the present I guess.

I have been working hard to get through my bucket list, but many distractions have come up along the way.  First, the bucket list update:

- Go horseback riding Done.  @jclarkey and I had a great time at the Horseshoe J Dude Ranch, and I hope to go back in the fall when the leaves start to change.

- Go on a portage Done.  Our trip to Algonquin was fabulous.  I have to admit, after the first portage I was thinking something like "Whose %#*$ing idea was this?!?!  I am never doing this again!! %*&$#!!" But it really was worth it, and I look forward to doing it again.

- Catch a big fish (but if you don't, make up a story about one).  Still working on this...

- Go golfing (not on the Wii).  Not done...

- Take a piano lesson.  Not done...

- Finish Auburn Like Anne Sweater (seriously!).  Ahem... Getting there...

- Finish at least one other knit/crochet WIP ...
- Sew something  ...

- Read something for the love of it and do so without guilt. Done.  I've read a few books this summer, but the most enjoyable was my re-reading of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime," by Mark Haddon.  It's about the 3rd time I've read it and I love it every time.

- Wear sunscreen. I've been wearing sunscreen, but this is obviously a continuing effort.  I must report, spray-on sunscreen has really come a long way!  I used it on our camping trip, and it really covers well without leaving "missed" spots.

As for the distractions that have been coming up -- it's been a busy summer!  @jclarkey and I put an offer on a house, put ours on the market, accepted an offer on our house, and then the whole deal fell apart...  That was interesting.  Our house is still on the market.  We'll see what happens there.

We also had to say goodbye to a dear friend.  Gordon, our cat, passed away.  @jclarkey wrote a lovely farewell blog post, and I will write one as well.

Also, my sister is in Ontario for July!  It's been great having her home, but also busy as she is expecting so we're having all kinds of showers and family get-togethers.  Tonight we're going to Labatt's brewery and she's our DD.  *smirk*

I think that's pretty much it for the exciting stuff.  I'll try to update more regularly in the coming weeks!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer of George and a Bucket List

I  have to thank - patsearle for inspiring this post.  Check out his blog to see his Summer Bucket List.

I also have a decade specific bucket list (things to do before I turn 30), but so far I've been pretty negligent of it. For that reason I hope to start at least one of those things this summer.  I have also included some things I know I'll be doing, but they're on here just the same.

Summer Bucket List 2010
- Go horseback riding
- Go on a portage
- Catch a big fish (but if you don't, make up a story about one)
- Go golfing (not on the Wii)
- Take a piano lesson
- Finish Auburn Like Anne Sweater (seriously!)
- Finish at least one other knit/crochet WIP
- Sew something
- Read something for the love of it and do so without guilt
- Wear sunscreen

Last year Jason decided summer 2009 would be his "Summer of George".  Strangely, it did end up being the summer of George, but not perhaps in the way Jason expected.  I think George had a good time though.

George's Cake

George as George

Manny the dog as George with @jclarkey and @kclarke5

Really though, I see no reason why every summer can't be great, memorable, exciting, awesome, adventurous, and all the things that would make it "George".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Obscure Hobbies Done Right

When I was in high school there was a small group of guys who were very skilled when it came to making funny noises.  I think back then we called it beat-boxing -- almost 10 years later I'm wondering if that's an out of date terminology.  My drama teacher theorized boys were good at that kind of thing because they made sound effects when they were little kids -- you know, playing with trains, planes & automobiles.  I played with Barbies and Playmobil, so it would follow that I am good at manipulating people.  I don't know if that's true, but I do know one thing I'm not good at: drama... and beat-boxing.

Mike went to my high school and he is very good at both.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Smart Food

Every once in a while @jclarkey and I get it together and plan our meals out wisely.  Last night, for instance, we had steak salad with tomato, red pepper and goat cheese.  Today for lunch I had a similar salad (sans steak) and tonight for dinner we had steak, tomato, red pepper & goat cheese pizza.  It was delicious -- and there's still lots of lettuce, tomato, some steak and a bit of goat cheese left!  It was a giant steak.  I'll also be having steak pizza for lunch tomorrow :)

We're not always so clever, but when it works out it's great.

In my opinion, chicken is the perfect food for going a long way.  A roasting chicken is a perfect Sunday night meal.  You can cook it slowly all day, filling your home with mouth-watering chicken aromas.  I usually like to make the chicken breasts the first meal.  That evening I'll separate the thighs and drumsticks, and remove any other meat I can manage.  The legs will be the following night's dinner and the other bits will go into a chicken salad sandwich.  What comes next is my absolute favourite part of cooking chicken -- making the stock.

Throw the rest of the chicken remnants and bones into a stock pot along with your choice of herbs, vegetables and spices.  My faves include garlic, onion, bay leaves, carrots and celery.  For the best flavour, I recommend leaving the skin on the garlic and onions and cutting them into large chunks.  I would suggest never adding salt to your stock -- odds are you'll add salt to your soup or whatever other dish you end up making with your stock.  There's really no need to add salt to stock.  The last time I made stock I also decided to add an apple and it ended up being a wise choice.  You can't really taste the apple, but there's a slight hint of it in the aroma.  You'll want to simmer your stock for a considerable length of time -- this is another one that can go all day and fill your house with wonderful smells.  When it's done just filter out the bones and vegetation and strain your stock into freezable containers.  Make sure you strain it well!  Chicken bones and bay leaves make especially dangerous choking hazards.  One chicken should produce about 10 cups of stock.

If you're not digging the chicken salad sandwich idea, throw the chicken bits into a few cups of stock, ramp up your spices (@jclarkey adds a dry soup mix called Cock Soup Mix.  I wish I was joking -- that's really what it's called) and viola, chicken soup.  For a real masterpiece add homemade noodles about 5 minutes before your soup is done.

Planning ahead to eat smart home cooked like this is not only healthy and delicious, it can save a lot of money.  A $15 chicken or steak might seem like a lot at the grocery store, but if you can make it cover 3 or 4 or more meals it's a pretty good deal!

Aaaand, for a well-rounded blog post, here's a picture of my adorable dog:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Absent Minded Gardening

There are pros and cons to being an absent minded gardener, and today I was witness to both.


The over-ordering of seeds.  Every year I order seeds, either forgetting what I had in stock, or forgetting where I left my stock.

Here we see more varieties of lettuce than any one person could really need.

And here we see the seeds the mice got when I forgot them in the garden shed over winter... my bad.

I also end up with a lot of trial and error lessons.  For  instance -- I cut back the rosemary in the fall and it isn't growing back.  With the lavender, however, I cut two back and left two.  The two I cut are growing back, but not the ones I left alone.  Next year I'll cut the lavender and leave the rosemary.


There are some benefits to being so forgetful.  Last year I forgot to pull the arugula before it went to seed.  And this year:

I may have an abundance of arugula.  Always a pleasant surprise!

When it comes right down to it it doesn't really matter what I remember or neglect.  Something always grows out there and it's usually something tasty.  If enough of it grows it may even have a positive impact on our grocery bill -- if not, it's at least a few interesting side dishes we wouldn't have otherwise.  And there's always the satisfaction of growing something good in my own back yard.

And let's not forget the sheer joy of getting outside from time to time.  I thought about doing several loads of laundry today, but spent most of the afternoon in the backyard instead.

Look, a pea I planted a few weeks ago!  I can hardly WAIT to shell and eat some raw peas.  Mmmm!

As long as I have the foresight to do a few things right, and the humour to laugh at what I don't, my garden will always be a joy and a success.

Sidenote:  While gardening today I separated some forget-me-nots, a few lilac cuttings and some alliums.  Anyone want them?

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Present

I have been wanting a certain knitting accessory for awhile now, and while ogling cute puppies on kijiji the other day, I decided to run a search and see if I could find a used one locally.  I found one!!  And it was cheap!  And since my birthday is only a few weeks away, I decided it was a must-have.  

Ladies and gentlemen,
My yarn ball winder:

It helps me turn a skein of yarn into a nice, neat ball, or "cake". This 
is necessary because knitting from a skein is virtually impossible.  
Your yarn tangles up, and it's just generally a bad scene. I've been 
hand-winding my own balls (more balls than cakes -- I don't have 
great technique), but it takes about an hour to do just one. With my
new toy I can do it in a few minutes. I LOVE it!!

In other news, I am an itchy beast all of a sudden.  Wednesday night when I was getting ready for bed, I complained to Jason that one of our pets must have fleas because I was covered in itchy bites (I react pretty strongly to both fleas and mosquitos).  He took one look and said, "Nope, you've got HIVES!"

Egad, I've never had hives before and now I'm on hive-tastic day three.  I likely should have had my doc check me out today, but I was busy (hey, I've got a life you know!).  If they're still around by Monday I'll give him a call.  They were at their worst last night -- my hands were so swollen I was unable to continue my video game, and knitting would have been out of the question.  I think I even had one under my thumb nail!

As for what might have caused my plight, I'm absolutely dumbfounded.  The only thing I can think of is that I must have a new Spring/pollen/spore-type allergy, as I've heard Spring allergies are supposed to be quite severe this year.

This experience does give me a new appreciation for how Jason must feel when he gets hives.  His hives are not caused by an allergy and can last anywhere from a few months to more than a year.  It's ridiculous, and I can only imagine how frustrated and uncomfortable he must be.

My itchies are less prominent today, and I might be able to do some knitting.  My sweater is coming along nicely, but I am itching (har-har) to take it off the needles and try it on!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Brrrr and a Book Review

Oh man is it cold/windy/gross out this afternoon!  Mondays and Tuesdays are my "walk home" days because @jclarkey needs the car those afternoons.  Some days I'll try to mooch a ride home if I'm not sure about the weather/lazy, but today I thought I'd tough it out.  What a mistake!  I am frozen and may have to resort to hot chocolate for a proper thaw.  Add a book and/or some knitting to the mix, and that sounds like a swell afternoon!

I must admit, I've really put knitting on the  back burner lately.  I had been neglecting my "must read" pile for some time though, and I really had to pick it back up.

Back at Christmas time I treated myself to a copy of Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro.  I'm a big fan of Canadian literature, but for some reason had never read anything by Munro before this.  I'm a fan. Too Much Happiness is a series of short stories that are none too happy, but ring true to life.  Most of them have at least a touch of melancholy to them, but not all.  The first story (Dimensions) in particular sticks out as one that illicits an emotional response.  It's about a woman trying to recover from the mental anguish caused by her estranged husband, who is also criminally insane.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to throw up or cry when I read it (I managed not to do either), but couldn't help but compare the main character's situation with various heart-wrenching news stories I've read in the last few months.  I also quite enjoy the fact that the stories all take place in SW Ontario.  London, Wingham, Clinton, Toronto and other local references are made throughout the book.  It makes me feel more connected to the stories somehow - like maybe I've seen or driven by the exact spot the author is referencing.  Maybe I've even met the main character.  I've still got a few stories to go, but I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates the genre.

I finished my Capelet Swing Cardi about a week ago, but neglected to share photos.  I have one, but it's not perhaps the greatest representation.  I'll try to get more the next time I wear it.

I'm going to just relax for the rest of the afternoon, as I've got a BUSY week ahead.  I can't honestly say I can see myself posting again until the weekend, or possibly next week.  That's what happens when you make yourself a long weekend - lot's of work to come back to!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ah, Staycation

I had a few days of staycation this week, so I thought I'd get started spring cleaning.  I started yesterday with the windows - possibly my favourite spring cleaning task.  Not that I love cleaning my windows.  I only do it about once a year though, and clearing the grime away feels rewarding.  It's an Ah! feeling.

In the afternoon I went for a looong walk with Moe, and then decided to get tidying the garden.  In doing so I noticed some interesting developments I thought I'd share:

Now hopefully they don't die next week when it's supposed to SNOW. Augh!

Today @Jclarkey and I did some running around, then took Mosely out for a bike ride.  I also FINALLY  got around to ordering my seeds for the garden this year.  I'm so excited - it's going to be a good one!

I had thought about doing more cleaning this afternoon, but I think I may just chill out with a book on the deck.  I can save the rest of the housework for tomorrow :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Hi, my name is Katrina, and I collect buttons.

Okay, I don't collect buttons on purpose... It just kind of happens.  You know how every article of clothing you buy comes with a spare button, should anything ever happen to the ones on the garment?  Heaven help me, I cannot throw these away.

It's almost a compulsion.  The worst part is when a button comes off a shirt or something, it's usually an indication that the garment is old, starting to wear out and time to discard.  If it comes off a pair of pants it's time for a diet.  

I needed some buttons for my Auburn Like Anne sweater, so I thought I'd have a look in my button jar.  The sweater calls for 3 buttons, and most of my buttons are multiples of one or two (and many of them say Jacob or RW & Co. rendering them virtually useless for handcrafted garments).

Fortunately, when an old jacket of Jason's was worn beyond repair I salvaged the buttons.  The wood-look of these old, plastic buttons will look great on the orange-red sweater, which is coming along great!

I'm looking forward to a loooong weekend, so stay tuned for exciting posts over the next few days as I tackle some SPRING CLEANING!!

Aaaaaand, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Well, well, wellness...

I went to A Day of Wellness Education at The Lotus Centre yesterday and had a really great time!  Mom and I decided to go in the spirit of health education.  Bonus: Mom was even able to count some of the time spent there towards professional development education for work.

I knew a little bit about Naturopathic wellness already, but my knowledge was pretty limited.  I was pleased to learn that the Naturopathic Doctors at The Lotus Centre advocate working with traditional medicine for a holistic approach to health and healing.  I don't know that all medical doctors would advocate the same type of balanced perspective, but in our over-medicated society, I like the thought of a multi-faceted approach to total health.  I know it's not for everyone, but if I have a problem that might be helped by reflexology shouldn't I try it before running to the pharmacy?

Some of the things I learned:

  • Pre-natal vitamins are not just for women - men should be on a pre-natal vitamin too.
  • Ionic foot baths use negatively charged ions to encourage the break up of clusters of positive charges in your body. It works  for the same reason waves at the beach make are relaxing and the build up before a thunderstorm causes tension.
  • High blood pressure is not a disease, though it is medicated like a disease.  High blood pressure is actually a symptom of a disease.  Diet and activity can lessen or even eliminate the need for blood pressure medications.
  • Healthy eating is not difficult, but requires planning. You should carry healthy snacks for yourself as if you are your own child. Almonds, fruits & vegetables, etc.
  • If you have time to check your facebook, you probably have time to plan your meals for a week. If you have time to watch a 30 min. TV program you probably have time to prepare your meals for the next day.
  • Most people don't need dairy in their diets, but some people will suffer real, need-based cravings if they try to give it up (especially true if you have a lot of dairy farmers in your ancestry, like me).
We also watched a documentary called The Future of Food about the big seed companies and GMOs.  I recommend it for anyone interested in food culture.  It doesn't have the same entertainment value as films like Food Inc., but was highly informative and disconcerting, nonetheless.  

Although we learned a lot, we missed the free yoga classes.  We bought new yoga outfits instead, and spent a lovely afternoon together :)