Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo is Finished

You know, writing a post everyday was harder than I thought it was going to be. And I somewhat accomplished my goal in all of this... my Dad left me a comment. Yes, one comment in all the month of November in which I was participating in a blog competition to make him happy... Feel guilty yet, Dad?

The one thing I liked about this activity was coming up with my Thursday Book Reports. Trust me, I read more than one book a week, so it is easy for me to stockpile these. And I don't want people to think that I will only write book reports on books I like (I know they last few have been glowing reviews) - it's just that I have been on a good run of late.

I'm going to finish NaBloPoMo with a quote from my fortune cookie from tonight's dinner:

"Work on your diplomatic skills and avoid conflict at all costs."

Yeah, I don't think that works for me!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday Book Report: A Lick Of Frost

First of all, I owe an apology to Ms. Hamilton. I know I have made jibes about how her recent books had sunk to more prurient levels and storylines have suffered... but I think that with A Lick Of Frost she has found her groove again. This is the 6th book in the Meredith Gentry series and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The last few novels had Merry banging everything in sight... that has its time and place, but with such an interesting world to play with it was such a slow way to move the story along. Things happen in this story!! I don't mean that to be facetious in the least - I was very happy with how the story turned out; characters who I feel Hamilton had treated shabbily in the past were given a wonderful renewed glow. She focused less on the sex, and in fact at some point I had to look at the top of the page of a new chapter and thought to myself, "I'm on chapter __ and no one has had sex yet? I have to say - I'm really excited to see what will happen in book seven!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cruel, Cruel Christmas (and Blogstalker redux)

Yes, I know it is WiP It Wednesday, and trust me, I have plenty of WiPs I could show off... but it is Christmas so they are all off the radar right now.

In the meantime, I am redacting my original blogstalking submission about the oldest picture of me. My Mom reminded me I had an older one, and wonders above wonders (hey - I did move 8 months ago!), I found it:


I can only guess I was a day old here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

All the States I Have Traveled To

create your own personalized map of the USA

Pretty good for a non-native, huh? I would really love to travel to the northeast - especially Nantucket. And speaking of even further northeast, this just solidifies my desire to move to Iceland when I grow up!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Little Inspirations

Most of you know that I don't wear any make up. I spend a healthy amount of money on skin cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, but I can't really be bothered with mascara, eyeshadow, etc. I rub my eyes too much in the course of a day - if I wore eye make up, I'd have a constant set of raccoon eyes. The weird thing about my lack-of-cosmeticness (yeah, that's my new word) is that I am always seeing colours that I will think to myself, "Oh, that would make a pretty (some type of make up)..." Case in point - tonight I am knitting my new sock (Gingerbread Dude!) and there is this point in the colourway that is the sweetest pinkish-brown. It would make the loveliest lip gloss. Would I wear it? Probably not - but it sure would be pretty.

Oh - I haven't decided on the difficulty of the sock yet - I am only 9 rows into 2X2 ribbing right now.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday: Unconscious Mutterings

I found this and it looks like fun. She gives you a list of words and you write down the first thing that comes to mind with each word.

1. Filthy :: Sink
2. Therapist :: Needed
3. Duck :: Projectile
4. Slant :: Cursive
5. Artist :: Daryth
6. Lease :: None
7. Wish :: Sears Book
8. Doormat :: Sorry
9. Global :: Television
10. Apartment :: Empty


Thanks for all the compliments on the socks - I can't wait for them to dry now so I can wear them. I have a request for information now. Every sock I have made has been the same pattern - Ann Budd's generic sock pattern. It's simple, works for me, and I pretty much know the pattern by heart now. However, I think I am ready to branch into something a bit fancier. Do you have any suggestions for a next-step sock that is not too complicated? I've only ever made socks top-down with dpns. Thanks!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Silk Garden Socks Finished!

Look what I finished!

The Specs:

Pattern: Ann Budd's generic sock pattern
Needles: Size 3 bamboo dpns
Yarn: 2 skeins Silk Garden Lite (colourway 2017)

I know they aren't identical twins, but I am pleased with how well I synched them up, considering that the two skeins, while of the same dye lot, were at different points in the dye lot at the beginning of the skein. It took me less than 2 weeks to knit these socks (thank you, 5 day long weekend!) and I can't wait to wash and wear them.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Book Report Friday

Yes, this was supposed to be Book Report Thursday, but I am looking at it like trash-collecting. If your trash day happens on a holiday, it gets pushed forward a day. So... for Book Report Friday I bring you Kathy Reichs' Bones to Ashes!

I started reading Kathy Reichs' novels five or six years ago. I saw her one morning on the Today Show and the interviewer compared her books to Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta novels. Being a fan of the Scarpetta novels (the early ones, in any case), I quickly went in search of Reichs' novels and soon found myself addicted to another series. Fans of the TV series Bones might recognize the books as it is Reichs' novels that the TV series is based on... of course, they have taken extreme liberties with the characters, their backgrounds, ages, nationalities, locations... but I digress.

I really enjoyed this book - and in fact, I finished it in less than twenty-four hours. Reichs' protagonist, Tempe Brennan, divides her time between North Carolina and Quebec and I always find that I enjoy the Quebecois stories better. It isn't just because I am Canadian - I feel just feel that they are more interesting stories. I don't want to give too much away, but kudos to Reichs for doing some thorough historical research. I love it when I read something in a novel that makes me want to do more research on my own. Especially when it is a part of my own country's history that I know so little of. Who knew there were still Acadians around? Forgive me - I'm from the West Coast.

One niggling thing, though - in the beginning she talks of Hippo bringing her Dunkin' Donuts. Now, seeing as I live in Delaware, I know full well the draw of Dunkin' Donuts... but since they were in Quebec, shouldn't that have been Tim Hortons?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Five Things I am Thankful For

1. I get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice.

2. I have a wonderfully supportive extended family.

3. I have a happy, healthy child who makes me laugh everyday.

4. I don't want for anything.

5. I can read and am able to read whatever I want, (practically) whenever I want, and how much I want.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Three Things I Need To Learn

1. To layer clothes when one goes out so one does not have to buy a new shirt just because one would be indecent if one stripped off her wool sweater.

2. To not go into a fit of rage when the five year old comes up to the dinner table, looks at the food, and goes, "Ewwww..."

3. To drive on the interstate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What Kind of Pie Are You?

You Are Apple Pie

You're the perfect combo of comforting and traditional.
You prefer things the way you've always known them.
You'll admit that you're old fashioned, and you don't see anything wrong with that.
Your tastes and preferences are classic. And classic never goes out of style.

Those who like you crave security.
People can rely on you to be true to yourself - and true to them.
You're loyal, trustworthy, and comfortable in your own skin.
And because of these qualities, you've definitely earned a lot of respect.

It's a good thing - applie pie is my favourite pie.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Battling Entropy

Do you ever feel that way? That you could go out and do wonderful and fun and healthy things... but in the end you elect to stay home and cultivate your couch-potato-ness? I hate it, but part of is just the plain facts of my life. Andrew and I both work. Willow is in elementary school now. By the time I get off work, pick up Willow and get home, I need to get dinner ready as soon as possible so that she has eaten and we can do some homework before she has to go to bed. And when she does get to bed, all I want to do is curl up on the sofa and read or knit. My house is cluttered - I live in fear of someone saying they are stopping by and will be there in fifteen minutes.

I know it isn't healthy. I have a stressful job, and of late it has become even more so. I need an outlet for this or else I am going to explode. I feel like I am reaching a point where my stress is boiling over into other areas of my life and it isn't fair to anyone involved.

I went to a water aerobics class after dinner tonight. And I feel good. I am sure my thighs are going to be mighty sore tomorrow, but for now I feel good.

(And I still had time to sit on the sofa and knit and watch 'Chuck' - you gotta love DVRs!)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Personal Best

I finished a sock in one week!

Mind you, it is made from sport weight yarn and size 3 needles, but I finished an entire sock in one week! I am so pleased with myself. I did cast one for the second right away - and since I am only working 2 days this week, I have a very good chance of finishing the second sock. They are a little bit big on my size 6.75 feet. Yeah, that looks odd, doesn't it? Size 6.5 is a bit snug and size 7 a bit big. In any case, I do hope they get a bit felted and smaller in the wash.

Something that strikes me about the sock is that it looks so sedate and business-like from the toe to almost the heel - and then it goes all willy-nilly with the colours. It is a sock with multiple personalities...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Times

My tummy is so full! We just returned from a birthday dinner - one shared by me and my friend Asami's son. Mind you, we are 33 years apart, but what does that matter? We met at a local Japanese restaurant where we had reserved a private tatami room - and I think that was the smartest thing we could have done. Between the 2 year old and the 5 year old, had we been in the restaurant proper something would have got knocked over and we would have annoyed the hell out of the other patrons.

What did we have? Collectively, shrimp and vegetable tempura, sushi rice, hibachi steaks, shrimp and halibut, yakitori, soba, miso soup, gyoza, dragon rolls, and assorted sushi. I didn't get to try the dragon roll myself, but it's on my list for next time. It is shrimp tempura wrapped in sushi rice and nori, and then thin slices of avocado are overlapped on top to resemble dragon scales.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Christmas is coming...

...WHEW...! Who knew you all could throw things through your monitors at me!?!?

No, I'm not talking about the stress and bad weather and horrible line ups to have pictures taken with Santa and the anxiety over gift-buying and the travel and people who have lost all sense of politeness and self-respect...

I had my first eggnog latte of the season this afternoon and it was sooo yummy. I know I can't indulge in eggnog as much as I would like - how can they fit so many calories in a half-cup of liquid?!? But, ever once in a while during this season I have an eggnog latte and I feel so happy and peaceful - regardless of whatever is going on around me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Book Report

Today I finished listening to Junot Diaz' The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao:

I had never heard of Junot Diaz before listening to this book. One day when I was driving home from work I heard him interviewed on NPR and read part of the book. I was so piqued by the character of Oscar Wao - named so because his classmates teased him about being a Dominican Oscar Wilde - that I wanted to read it immediately. I found myself intermittently pausing the story, going to Wikipedia and looking up many of the real life characters and places mentioned in the story. I am sure Diaz, as a MIT professor, would be very pleased that some learning happened along with my enjoyment of his novel. Before reading this book all I could tell you about the Dominican Republic was that I knew it was on an island that was half Dominican Republic and half Haiti. The two actor/narrators of the book, Jonathan David and Staci Snell did a wonderful job - I think that this is a book that really lends itself to the audio experience. The book tells the story of multiple generations of Oscar's family and some his friends, in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, and New Jersey and Diaz does an amazing job of pulling all these people and places together.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WiP It Wednesday

I first saw Silk Garden Lite socks on Lolly's blog and knew right away that I wanted to try to knit a pair of my own. The funny thing about Silk Garden Lite and the way it is skeined - unless you have a swatch right in front of you, you don't really have a clear idea of all the colours involved. I started these socks on Sunday morning and am quite pleased at how far along they have come:


Now, I have to say that I chose this skein because of the lime green and charcoal grey (which I have yet to get to on the skein), having no clue that there was orange and purple involved as well! They are going to make very warm socks, however ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

And the winner is... Shan! Who, oddly enough, was the first person to submit the correct answers. I guess the lottery picker (the site I used to pick the winner) liked you! If you will email me your mailing address, I will pop the package in the mail.

And, here is a somewhat birthday meme, stolen from Catherine:

30 years ago I...
... celebrated my 5th birthday. I was in Kindergarten, but I am afraid I don't remember it much beyond that. Except that may have been my birthday when I got a puppy and then it got hit by a car soon after.

20 years ago I...
... celebrated my 15th birthday. I was in grade 10 and I believe I had a sleep over party.

10 years ago I...
... celebrated my 25th birthday. I was in Japan and a bunch of my Japanese girlfriends went to a Mexican restaurant in Roppongi, flirted with the cute South African waiter, drank plenty of margaritas, then went to karaoke!

5 years ago I...
... celebrated my 30th birthday with my four-month-old baby girl and finally getting sleep because she had started sleeping through the night.

2 years ago I...
... celebrated my 33rd birthday. It wasn't particularly memorable other than my boss at that time bought me a fabulous cheesecake (which I much prefer to birthday cake).

1 year ago I...
... celebrated my 34th birthday. We went to Hibachi Steakhouse where we all were unsuccessful tried to catch shrimp in our mouths. It was my first time there and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

1 month ago I...
... was in Baltimore at Stitches with my friends.

1 week ago I...
... had a meltdown while on the phone with my mother because everything in my fridge was rotten or beyond its 'best by' date.

1 day ago I...
... annoyed my husband by rough-housing with my daughter. Hey! How was I supposed to know she would take a face plant into the carpet?

1 hour ago I ...
... volunteered in Willow's class.

And right now?
...trying to decide how I am going to hide the delicata squash into the mashed potatoes for dinner...

Happy Birthday to me!

Oh - and the correct answers:

1. Canadian.
2. Irving Layton
3. 35
4. I'd accept anything from paranormal romance to sci-fi to mystery
5. Canada, Japan, and USA

Monday, November 12, 2007

Three Things I Love

(the slightly soused version)

1. Flannel sheets
2. Bailey's Irish Cream (or any variants thereof)
3. The Muppet Show

I'm going into this birthday happy - I have always thought my odd years fared better than my even ones.

Keep those answers coming - so far only two people have sent in real answers...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Birthday Contest Set Up

First off, here is the prize:

Two skeins of Berroco Foliage in Cinnabar. It's very nice stuff to knit with - I made my Knitty Calorimetry out of it.
To win these lovelies, here is what you must do. Answer the following questions and DO NOT POST YOUR ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS! Send your answers to me at jochibi AT yahoo DOT com, and let me know your name and blog address (if you have one). I will collect all the correct answers and make a random drawing on Tuesday (my actual birthday). Anyone who posts the answers to the comments will be disqualified.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, these questions should be easy for you... if not, you may have to dig a little.
1. What nationality am I?
2. To whom is my blog title a tribute?
3. How old am I turning on Tuesday? (hint: it's a multiple of two odd prime numbers)
4. What are my favourite books to read? (I'll allow some lassitude in this one)
5. What countries have I lived in?
All answers must be sent to my yahoo email by 5pm EST Tuesday, November 13th. Again, please do not put the answers in the comments - but please leave a note there saying you submitted your answers so I know to look for them.
Good luck!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Secret Finished Objects

You know, it is not nearly as satisfying when you actually finish something and can't show anyone a picture of it. I know that the person it is intended for has not made his/her appearance yet, but I still want it to be a surprise for the other people involved in this adventure. In any case, it is finished.

Next quick-o projects - a hat for Willow. I knit her a bright lime green one two years ago and it has mysteriously become much tighter and doesn't cover her ears anymore... She has requested a pink hat, so pink it will be.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Do My Eyes Deceive Me?

They kind of look like Jaywalkers, don't they? Sadly, no - I haven't tried those socks yet - these are just knock-offs I picked up at Sears for Willow.


What are those things on the socks? They kind of look like Cadbury Easter Eggs, don't they? You know, the kind of candy that it is a damn good thing has a very short season or I would be five times the size I am now? They are trying to pass them off as Christmas candy now! Omigod. I had to buy a couple - for empirical research, you see...

Yeah... that's the ticket.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Willow Interview

As promised, here is my interview with Willow:

Q1: What is your favourite thing about your family? (from Nell)

W: You take me out trick-or-treating. You take me to the park down the street. And you say that you love me more than all the stars.

Q2: What is your favourite story book? (from cpurl17)

W: Okay... Sleepytime Tales (Jo: It's an anthology of Golden Books.) In Sleepytime Tales I like 'Baby Dear' because it has babies and how the baby grows up.

Q3: What is your Mom really good at? (from Tara)

W: Knitting! And loving me.

Q4: Do you know how to knit? If you don't, do you plan to learn? When? If you do know how, what do you like about it? And do you and your Mom share yarn and work on projects together? (from Holly)

W: Sort of. When I am five. Hey! I'm five now. I'm learning that I can knit half a scarf. I get the leftover yarn. We work on projects for my school so we can have a pizza party. (Jo: She is talking about the Boxtops for Education. Got any you want to contribute?)

Q5: Willow, how'd you get so darn cute?? And if you could spend a day with a celebrity of your choice (and do whatever you wanted), who would you hand out with and what would you do? (from Sarah)

W: (giggles)I was just made that way! Beethoven because I like the part when he goes, "Ba ba ba bum!" I would spend the day with him and we would go to the park.

Q6: Hey Willow - when you get to be an official grown-up what is the one thing you really want to do that you can't do now? (from Kemtee)

W: Knit and sew because I really want to knit and sew.

Q7: Hi Willow! Are you going to start up a yarn dyeing business when you grow up? (from Cristi)

W: What do you mean? (Jo explains) Write Y-E-S, Mom. Very much because but I can't do it right now. I won't use vinegar! No way, Jose!

Q8: Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence. Pete fell off, who was left? (from Bezzie)

W: Heat? What was it? What was the joke? Oh! Repeat was on there...


Hey people, my birthday is next week... and let's just say it is a number that can be divided by two odd numbers. I am going to have a short-term contest - I will probably put the contest up on Sunday and draw the winner on Tuesday... so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

WiP It, Blogstalking!

Shh... This is two projects in one. The mittens (without thumbs because I have been lazy) are for Children in Common - and the other is a secret...

Ah, breakfast! Honestly, it took Weight Watchers kicking my behind to get me to eat breakfast regularly. Below is a typical weekday breakfast for me:

- 1 cup Fiber One Honey Nut Clusters cereal
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups extremely strong Starbucks Yukon coffee with French Vanilla creamer

...And don't talk to me until the coffee has been consumed. You will notice the milk is not in my cereal. I hate soggy cereal, so I pour the milk in a little bit at a time as I need it. When I am finished the cereal my bowl is dry and then I drink the remainder of my milk from the cup.

Like Willow's place mat? $1.79 at Target!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

10 Songs That Sum Up Your Weekend

I found this meme on Music Memoirs and decided to give it a shot.

List 10 songs that sum up your weekend (or were on your weekend playlist) and one picture that relates back (oh, and if you feel like it, tell us why you picked the songs you did).

1. "Die Zauberflöte" (aka The Queen of the Night aria) from Mozart's 'Magic Flute'.
Willow has been on a Mozart kick lately and this plays on one of her CDs. I have loved this aria ever since I first heard it as a child watching the movie 'Amadeus.' And because of this song, I learned a new term this weekend: coloratura soprano.

2. "I've Been Working On the Railroad" - Laurie Berkner.
I know Laurie Berkner did not pen this song, but it is the version we sing. We were in Einstein Brothers on the weekend and there is a sign in the women's bathroom that says there is great acoustics in the bathroom... so we had to test this statement.

3. "Please Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want This Time" - The Smiths.
Want to know my definition of angst? Try sitting through 45 minutes of watching your child eat three-quarters of ONE HALF of a bagel!!!!

4. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" - Green Day.
Oddly enough, another one due to Willow. She loves Green Day and sings along whenever she hears them on the radio. Yes, some songs I have to edit a little...

5. "Soul Meets Body" - Death Cab For Cutie.
This song rumbled through my head all weekend and I kept finding myself humming it. It is one of those songs where I couldn't tell you more than 2 - 3 of the words in the lyrics strung together, but I know the whole melody.

6. "Chapel of Love" - The Dixie Cups
This song is here because I tricked my friend Carrie into singing it for me. Well, I think she wanted to sing it anyway - she isn't one easily coerced.

7. "Sunglasses At Night" - Corey Hart.
What can I say? It came on the radio and I was a Canadian teenager during the 1980s - so of course I had to sing along.

8. "Sweet Emotion" - Aerosmith
I watched (part of) 'Armageddon' on the weekend, and while I know that the Aerosmith song people usually associate with this movie is "Don't Want to Miss A Thing", I didn't get that far in the movie. I tried setting Willow up in the other room with Noggin, but she was more interested in 'Armageddon' so I had to turn it off before they got into space.

9. "All I Want Is You" - U2
Truly, one of my all-time favourite U2 songs. Andrew and I watched the Clive Owen movie "Greenfingers" this weekend and this song was on the soundtrack.

10. "Joy to the World" - Three Dog Night
Willow loves the chorus to this song so we had to sing it a few times over the weekend.

And for a picture....


A bullfrog!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Eulogy For Jo

Pre-script: Don't freak out, Mom. It's just Shan's writing assignment.


"And you want to travel with her
You want to travel blind
And you know she will find you
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind"

- Leonard Cohen, 'Suzanne'

We are gathered here to remember Jo and to celebrate her life.

People knew her as a person full of contradictions. Most notably, she thrived on excitement and adventure, but yet was a devoted homebody who loved nothing more than a comfy spot on the sofa, knitting project in her lap, and a Baileys on the rocks within reach.

A precocious child, she was an old woman even as a little girl. Her paternal grandmother gave her a leather bound copy of Louisa May Alcott's _Little Women_ as a young child because she was such a 'little woman', all prim and proper. This gift sparked a love of long books and from that point forward Jo was rarely found without her nose in a book. This was not always a good thing; on a number of occasions her mother accused her of being anti-social because Jo would rather read alone in her room than interact with her family.

A competitive athlete who always played to win, she participated on many sports teams, including field hockey, soccer, volleyball, and softball. Through these adventures she sustained a number of injuries, including multiple concussions, a cracked pelvic bone, and most regrettably, torn cartilage in her knee which barred her from further competition. Later in life she grew to enjoy less competitive (and equally less injury-prone) sports such as cycling and swimming. Despite this love of sport, Jo struggled with her weight her entire life and became a firm believer in health and strength at any size.

She was a person who loved school and took joy in learning something new everyday. After graduating from high school, Jo had her pick of universities across Canada and the US, and chose the University of Victoria for its programs and location. She began her post-secondary career in Pre-Med but later changed majors and graduated with a degree in Applied Linguistics. During her sojourn at UVic, Jo wrote a great deal and had many pieces published in local publications and anthologies.

Her first job after university took her across the Pacific Ocean to live and work in Japan. She lived there for three years and it was then that she met (and married) her husband, Andrew. The two of them loved living in Japan and always dreamed of returning. They had their only child, Willow, a few years later after they had returned to the US and Andrew had graduated from law school. Willow was the brightest spark in Jo's heart and she loved her daughter more than all the stars in the sky.

In the late 90s Jo left her career in education to work for a biotech company. She thrived in her new job - the combination of detective work, political wranglings, and math made for exciting work. She always wanted her experience to be a lesson to other people - to not put your eggs in one basket when it comes to your education - because you never know where you will end up!

Jo was many things: a fierce competitor yet someone who learned to not wear her heart on her sleeve, a loving wife who occasionally threw writing instruments at her husband in frustration, an over-protective mama yet one who always urged her daughter to stand up for herself, someone who knew reason and still, inexplicably, would not heed it. She liked being a book not easily read.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday Night Fly-By

I have to make this quick because the Treehouse of Horror comes on in a few minutes. Can someone please tell me why the Treehouse of Horror is always on *after* Halloween? I never got that - you would think that a show with the Simpsons' clout would make its Halloween show come on before or on Halloween.

On Thursday I plan to interview Willow for this blog, so I have an assignment for you. In the comments section, please leave a question that you would like me to ask Willow. She's a pretty smart kid, so fire away. Here is one of my favourite shots of me and Willow:

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A November Garden

Fall has come upon us in a hurry - even as recently as last week I was too hot during the day and we broke down and turned the airconditioner on again. Not so now. Now we play the game of how cold it has to be before we turn on the heater - Andrew has already lost. He called me today from home and said, "Guess what - it finally got cold enough today for the heat to come on automatically!" (It is set on a sensor to turn on if the temperature goes below 60'F in the house.) Me: "Um, how did that happen? I turned the sensor off when we left yesterday." Him: "Oh yeah... I turned the heat on..." I love him, but he is a wimp when it comes to heat. He will wear long johns half the year if you would let him.

In any case, Willow and I were dogsitting today, and I decided to document my father-in-law's garden in November. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what is still growing - and not to mention the lovely fall colours:

Fall Azalea Leaves

Fall flowers (begonias?)

Fall Geraniums

Autumn Leaves





Cherry Tomatoes

Shrivelled Peppers


And I even found a sweet treat still lingering on their vines:


I tried to get a nice picture of Willow and Caddie, but neither one of them were cooperating:

Willow and Caddie 1

Why are so many things still blooming in November? Well, we had an exceptionally warm October - I think some plants got tricked into thinking it was spring and started a second round of blooms. The vegetable garden is pretty much done for, but you can still find the odd bunch of cherry tomatoes and pepper (not the one above) that hasn't withered yet.

Friday, November 02, 2007

With Apologies to Shan

You Are

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you
loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your
emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and
maybe just a little evil

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd
passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to

Shan - I am still planning to do your meme. I was writing it out longhand and I left it in my desk at work. It will be posted Monday night! (Don't worry - no crapping out here - just accidental procrastination.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Día de los Muertos

It's fitting that I should finally get around to doing this week's Blogstalking assignment on the Day of the Dead. This is not the oldest picture of me I have ever seen, but it is the oldest picture of me (in which I am clothed - my parents were big on the naked baby pictures) that I have:

This picture is of me and my paternal grandparents at my baptism - sometime in the early 70's. Let's just leave it there. My Gram is still alive and kicking, but my Grandpa died when I was scarcely 6 years old and I wish I remembered him better than I do. He was never a strong or healthy man in my lifetime and most of what I know of him comes second hand. I do know that he was a sweet and considerate man who would sit in the kitchen and watch the birds at the birdfeeder outside the window.


And continuing on the grandparent tangent, my friend Carrie (of yesterday's Halloween costume fame) gave me a bag of wool that had belonged to her grandmother today. This batch is nine skeins of Melrose Classic Sport Yarn (acrylic, 50g, 150 yards) - it's very pretty and reminds me a lot of some Mexican Wave yarn I used to have:

This is Wendy Fancy Cotton - but I couldn't find a match for it anywhere online:

My father-in-law (the phantom gardener) has struck again. Earlier this week he came by and not only seeded the bare patches (with sand, soil, seed, and fertilizer) in our backyard, but also planted some bushes along the side of my house:

There are azaleas, rhododendrons, and mountain laurels here - all in shades of red and purple. But that is not all... this beauty was waiting for me in the back:

It may not look like much now, but if you recall back in May when I was taking pictures of all my father-in-law's lovely flowers, I had said that his Ben Morrison azalea was my favourite of all the ones he has. So what does he do? He goes and buys me one of my own! I can't wait until next spring so that I can see it in bloom. And yes, I have been watering them... and the seeded areas in the backyard. Andrew and I are such gardening/yardwork newbies - I am sure my father-in-law just wants to pull his hair out sometimes...