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 :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Truly Canadian

I may have invented a new pizza classic last night.

I think we're all familiar with the classic "Canadian" pizza (pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms, mozza and sometimes sausage).  Well, last night I invented the "Truly Canadian" pizza.  It was topped with mozzarella AND white cheddar, pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms AND sliced garlic on a thick layer of tomato sauce and a fluffy crust.  It was delicious, although quite filling.

It got me thinking though, about how much I'm looking forward to the fresh tasting pizzas of summer.  I have to admit, I've been in a bit of a pizza slump the last few weeks.  In the summers I like to pull some of my pizza ingredients directly from the garden (basil, rosemary, tomatoes, onion....) and I look for other ingredients to complement what I have (asparagus, peppers, bocconcini mozzarella, goat cheese, etc.).  And sometimes we make it on the barbecue... Mmmm.

I can't wait for spring!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Delights from Amazon

After my near-death experience yesterday, I was convinced the afternoon had to get better.  I figured since I had picked the "lucky bagel", I might be just as lucky with a Bingo scratch ticket.  It wasn't until after I'd scratched the losing ticket that I realized it had been the Great Canadian Bagel employee who actually picked the bagel.  Feeling dejected, I headed home to watch the second half of season one of Glee

When I arrived home, I was delighted to be met by a package from Amazon!!  There are few things in life so sacred to me as my Amazon wishlist, and earlier this week I decided to cross a few wishes off the list.  

I had been shopping around for some Elizabeth Zimmerman knitting books, which are apparently the best knitting books money can buy.  One of my ultimate knitting goals has always been to knit an Aran sweater (or Fisherman's sweater) for my hubby.  I figured every good wife who knits should be able to do this.  Much to my dismay, hubby is not interested in an Aran sweater.  He thinks they look bulky, heavy, itchy and old-fashioned (this is what I assume he thinks, as I've never really asked why he doesn't like them).  In good spirit, he has requested I knit a vintage looking Toronto Maple Leafs sweater instead.

Enter EZ's Seamless Hybrid sweater.  It has the look of a comfortable, casual men's sweater, that with the right colours could be regarded as a sweater-jersey.  The pattern is printed (or more described) in Knitting Without Tears.  I was also advised to pick up EZ's Knitter's Almanac, as it's apparently the must-have guide for all knitters.  I read the first chapter last night, and I am sold.  Elizabeth Zimmerman is the saintly kind of knitter you might wish was your grandmother -- or at least the person who taught you to knit.  The first pattern in the Almanac is (of course) an Aran sweater.  I'm thinking I might try to go through it, pattern by pattern, next year.  If you want to follow someone doing that very thing this year, check out Knitty-Kat's blog.

In order to qualify for FREE SUPER-SAVER SHIPPING I needed to add one more item to my order.  I decided to go with Eugenia Bone's Well Preserved, which has been on the wishlist for awhile.  I haven't cracked it yet, but expect I will as the weather get's warmer and I'm thinking more about food and growing things and less about warm woolies.

SO, despite a few minor setbacks, yesterday turned out to be a pretty great day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

As promised...

Here are the pictures I had wanted to post yesterday. As you can see, my Capelet Swing Cardi is really coming along! It does need a bit of length still though. I expect I'll be done in another week or so, then I've got to weave in ends, sew on buttons, block, and it's ready to wear! My first garment, and the end is in sight!!

I've also cast on my Auburn Like Anne sweater, but haven't done much else with it. I managed to hand wind one skein of this delicious Cascade Heathers Yarn. It's a beautiful, rich orange that reminds me of the colour Anne Shirley wished her hair to be, and as an adult discovered it had become. Auburn.

I tried to get a picture of the true colour, but didn't quite manage. IRL, it's actually a darker, burnt orange. Also, hand winding really bites. I think I need a winder for my birthday. *Hint*

To help with my Anne sweater, I've ordered Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac, which the pattern was adapted from. I also discovered yesterday, while home sick, a local blogger who is challenging herself to complete every pattern in the Almanac this year. Go knitty-kat! I'm inspired!

In other news...

I went to Great Canadian Bagel today and discovered a thumbtack in my bagel. The kind with the hard plastic backing. I didn't find it until it was in my mouth. I'm going back to packing my lunch.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Disaster Strikes!


Two days and one maple donut after heart health month and I'm struck with a cold!! And to be honest, I haven't even started eating un-heart healthy things yet (except for the donut). Bleh.

I had wanted to take some photogs of my knitty/crochet projects today, but my camera is at work. I'll try to do that tomorrow for you. In the meantime, this video made me laugh.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Over!

Hello my devoted throngs of heart-health junkies. As you may have ascertained from the title of this blog, heart health month is over! I'm having some mixed emotions in seeing it go. On the one hand, I've enjoyed eating on a regimented plan (it takes the thinking out of the equation). I can also honestly say I've enjoyed everything I've been eating. On the other hand, I've been jonesing for a Maple Donut for weeks!

I'm not too sure how to present the results of this experiment (or if there were any). I neglected to have my blood pressure tested, so I can't say anything remarkable happened there. People keep asking if I feel any different. Not really. My ticker's still thumping away, the same as always. That said, I feel good. I lost a few lbs, but nothing to write home about.

I think the biggest change I've experienced is to my attitude towards heart healthy foods. For instance, I really like whole wheat english muffins, brown rice, almonds, berries, avocado and (of course) spinach. I will definitely continue to incorporate those types of foods in my regular diet. And I may completely ditch milk chocolate in favour of the dark stuff - especially now that Hershey's has changed the Kiss recipe. Has anyone else noticed that?? What were they thinking?! I'll also try to plan ahead and schedule my meals. I can't believe I managed to go a month without a cafeteria lunch!

One thing I wasn't sold on was the ol' margarine. I found myself opting for dry toast and plain potatoes. I'll use what's left of it in baking I think, but I'm switching back to butter.

And, for the last time...

Monday, March 1

Breakfast: Blueberry-Pomegranate shake & Tea

Lunch: Spinach salad (w/ strawberries, mushrooms & goat cheese), juice, Maple Donut & honey lemon tea

Dinner: Chicken curry, whole wheat bun & juice