I'm busy eating

My metabolism feels wonky. I'm out of energy mid afternoon, craving sugar and caffeine, my mood all over the place and I'm never satisfied by what I eat but eating more yields only a disgustingly overstuffed feeling. Time to get things sorted!

First step - Eat every two hours through the day. Nothing to eat after 7:30 p.m..

Second - No "whites" (sugar, flour or wine - actually no alcohol but if I'm going to have a drink white wine is my dinner hour beverage of choice - hence the label "white")

Third - Prepare to white knuckle through the inevitable cravings while paying attention to what my body is telling me it really needs.

This works for me. Its simple, taking only concentration to keep up the eating schedule and keep from eating (drinking) junk.

I'll feel fantastic within a very few days. Everything will flow easily from that even keeled and comfortable sensation of being satisfied but did I mention how much energy and concen....oh yeah, I already covered that...sorry I'm clearly preoccupied.

I'm mentally "busy" with it - focused. 

I have to be because while the cookies seem to be screaming at me from the cookie tin they are drowning out the good information my body is trying to give me on what it needs...water?...protein?...a big salad?...a small portion of fruit? Maybe I don't need to eat at all, I just need to sit still for 10 minutes or do a few stretches. ("All negative sensations can not be resolved with food!" - I keep telling myself) If I can be sensitive to what's being "requested" by my body (this as distinct from the cookies being "demanded" by my brain) the physical feeling of being satisfied follows almost immediately thereafter.  I could eat the whole tin of cookies and defer sitting down for 10 minutes but then I'd crash half an hour later once the sugar high is passed so what really is the point of doing it in the first place?)

But old habits die so very hard and all of it means I have to make dinner so early! But I'm on day four and already feeling much better...oh would you just look at the time - I have to run - I have a snack scheduled...thanks for dropping by - have a great day!



Doesn't this look like a really, really fun place to visit? It depends on who you ask. (My menfolk find visiting an LYS gives instant heartburn) I find sitting in a car on a beautiful day, held hostage by swarms of black flies  - even with knitting to do! - tedious for the first 15 minutes and full on irritating thereafter. (Check out the rear view mirror - the excitement in front of the car actually extends all the way around it!) This is a winter boat storage place. Specifically one of our winter boat storage places! (The affordability of used boats and frequent availability of boats other people are just willing to give you if you'll haul it away makes having a pseudo collection entirely possible.) My Beloved can justify every one. Think yarn here - is it possible to have too much/many? Depends on who you ask.

In fairness, boats are necessary to our brand of water access cottaging. (Kind of like warm woolly knits in a cold northern climate.) And our "craft" do see lots of use every year. 

(One exception is a wooden boat that was atop a used trailer we were buying and the vendor didn't want to have to dispose of it himself. Part of the deal was taking the boat with the trailer. He thought we'd take it right to the dump. We didn't. It  received a lot of attention when our now University aged Darling Daughter was still in diapers but it kind of slipped off the list (out of the proverbial "Knitting Basket") and is still in mid renovation - It hasn't seen the water, except from a distance in many years - a true nautical WIP in full hibernation and full view at the front of the cottage - oh well.)

Anyway so we stopped by this local hot spot Saturday morning en route to the cottage not to pick up our boat, or fix it or make arrangements for its delivery. Just. To. Look.
See him in there?... seriously its just like they're rummaging the yarn stash.

After what felt like an eternity they did tear themselves away, heading for the marina where our primary mode of water transportation was launched last week. Speeding across the lake, the only boat in sight on a sparkling and warm late spring morning is of course very much like wearing a new, perfectly fitting FO - nothing but bliss...

During the ride I looked down and smiled when I saw this...

Number One Son's shoes are in tatters but the boat is sporting shiny new bumpers - a perfect parallel for Addi Turbos!

Once at the cottage the afternoon was filled with non-nautical odd jobs. We needed to figure out where all the ants are coming from and going to! The smoke detector batteries needed changing and the washer on the hot water tank intake had dried out creating a bit of a leak. Then things degenerated into widespread napping. We played a couple of rounds of Tangrams - soooo much harder than it looks while our dinner roasted,warming the cottage and filling it with aromas of delicious things to come...

Its amazing how just carefully cooking good fresh food allows the natural flavour to come out, takes so little time and effort and yet makes a totally satisfying meal.  I thought the roasted chicken legs and asparagus looked particularly rustic as they came out of the oven. 

Sunday we left after breakfast (and after re-arranging all the furniture in the living room just for kicks).  It was great to get away - even for 24 hours - even, yes even, to pat the boat and chase the ants. Cottaging and Boats, Knitting and Yarn it keeps us entertained and helps us relax - these things seem so disparate but really, when I take the time to look closely the similarities are striking!


It must (better!) be the off season...

The weather, the garden, the long, long hours of sunny daylight, opening the cottage - I'm utterly engaged with springtime activity and to be honest, feeling no compulsion to knit or apparently even pay attention to the date!

I don't know about warmer climes where the distinction between winter and summer is less extreme than it is here or where the variation in the quantity of daylight hours isn't as great as it is in Toronto but the months that are marked by dark and cold seem to be just made for knitting where these first heady weeks of temperate conditions feel just the opposite.

Its like daylight, temperature and rainfall suddenly rule the world whereas in winter hereabouts we have to just go on with our plans whatever the situation is outside - ignoring it (and often shovelling) as best we can. At this time of year though, whether its Wednesday or Thursday - oops, I got those confused this week and missed Interweave Knits' Sandi Wisehart's speech at the DKC! Whether its the 21st or 22nd, oops I mixed those up too - its Spring! It feels like its been forever in coming this year!

The sun creeps through the bedroom window earlier and earlier every day calling me to head outside. By the time I stop moving in the evening many, many hours later my arms and wrists feel like lead and I'm fighting to stay awake.

I don't want to snuggle into a chair with my knitting after dinner when there is still so much spring outside and more sunny hours available to enjoy it in even after the dishes are done!

I don't think I'm alone - knitblogland seems pretty quiet - designers are busy, some knitters are finishing up neglected WIP's from the winter but when I troll on line looking to get inspired I just don't.

I was thinking it was me but now I think 'tis just not the season. 

(It better not be! If I'm losing interest in knitting along with my understanding of the passage of time I've got bigger problems that a 3/4 finished cardigan and a pair of ribbed socks I can't get excited about or a birthday greeting I may have prematurely sent off across the internets!)

I will take my knitting knorth of course. I'll try to keep track of whether its Saturday or Sunday. In the screened porch - impervious to swarming blackflies I may just settle into some knit and purls as I drink in the warm spring breeze.  I hope whatever the weekend brings you - its a good one! Thanks for dropping by!


You want a Mullet?!

Today is "Crazy Hair Day" at Number One Son's school so last night chez Sel & Poivre it was crazy hair cutting night.

I did not even try to capture the event on film. Don't worry, I didn't destroy an otherwise perfectly good hair cut - his current "do" is what has grown out of his latest full head shave which was done last summer and which, to use my Beloved's parlance,  and was "right down to the wood". Before I had at it last night it looked like all the other boys he goes to school with - longish, over his ears with the little flips at the sides. Needless to say, the little flips are no more. he couldn't wait to get to school to enjoy every one's reaction. That boy is nothing if not bursting with confidence!

The hair event (combined with the house league soccer practice/ I was so distracted by the prospect of getting a homemade mullet I forgot my cleats at school even though the last words you said to me this morning were "don't forget your soccer shoes" so now we have to go back to the school before soccer" event) really messed with my knitting time last night. Especially as it was followed up with the "wait in the parking lot for the coach who never showed up and drive home in rush hour traffic without getting the planned and much anticipated hour to knit during the practice" event. 

Bottom line - I've got a heel and no hair cuts on the horizon for tonight. Here's to hoping!


Loooooong Weekend

First things first though...
Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight "Shadow" colourway. I can hardly stand how beautiful this yarn is. Is that silver or grey?... check out those shots of robin's egg blue that run through it...is that an overtone of lavender that just washes over everything? Its woolly but soft and its appearing to be the perfect match for Ms. Clarke's Retro Rib Sock...

I've got another inch to go before the heel...

The pattern is four rows and its very, very ribby. Lots of back and forth knitting and purling. My bamboo needles are too long and too bendy and are driving me crazy.  I'm sorry now that I didn't pick up a set of 5" Lantern Moon Sock Stix when I saw them a few months ago at Romni.

Needle issues notwithstanding, it was great to work on socks again after a few months off and it was the perfect take along car project.  Opening weekend is not exactly a relaxing one and once at the cottage, there really wasn't time or energy for knitting.  If everything goes perfectly (I think it did once in the late 90's...) its a big job to open up a seasonal place and that first day is always a long one.

Opening day starts early and with no unexpected surprises goes something like this... A two and a half hour drive, retrieving the boat out of storage, launching it, getting it started, Loading an SUV full of stuff into it then crossing the couple of miles over the lake to our place , connecting the dock that has been tethered but disconnected from the main dock for the winter. Next its hauling everything up the steps and into the cottage, unloading the groceries and stocking the kitchen - I'm talking just the basics but I am always amazed at how much "the basics" consist of. We have to uncover all the windows, get the water running from the lake to the cottage, make all the beds, make the lunch, boil water for the dishes and cleaning the kitchen because it will be hours before the water heater is up to speed. Make a drink(!) make the dinner, make the fire as big as possible before making our way to bed.  (At least now the kids help rather than add to the list of tasks requiring attention!) Still its only the next day that the real cleaning starts.

That's the essential list for day one - but additional things inevitably make their way into the process. Does the boat start when we launch it or must we sit beside the launch ramp for an hour until it is coaxed into running? Is the floating dock still attached to the tether or must we drive around searching for it? When the water turns on does it squirt out of walls or fill sink cabinets or just stream out under the cottage? Are all the windows intact or has a large game bird flown through one or two or them? Has the outhouse been crushed by a fallen tree? Have any of the local wildlife set up housekeeping in the linen closet? 

The first surprise of Opening '09 happened before we even made it to the cottage in our encounter with Ontario Provincial Police. No we weren't speeding! We didn't get pulled over! We stopped to pick up coffee and were asked by an officer having a problem with his car whether we could give him a boost. In the end the problem wasn't with his battery but with his starter - My Beloved and another fellow - a mechanic who also offered to help, sorted it out for him and once again we were on our way.

At the lake the weather was grey and rainy, cool and a bit breezy.
 Fortunately all that minimized the seasonal black flies.

(For the uninitiated - at this time of year, black flies are swarming in the northern woods. It is impossible to shoo them away. In bad years, moose and deer are known to be driven out on highways in an attempt to escape them.  They are very tiny, unlike mosquitoes, make no noise and usually I don't feel them bite.  My first clue I've been bitten is generally a tickling sensation - the blood oozing out of the bite and dripping downward. The next day intense itchiness kicks in, lasting for two or three days... Most years we open early to avoid the flies that last from early May through mid June or until there's sustained hot and dry weather. Fortunately, as I said, the weather conditions on Saturday meant the little stinkers were not even really evident - bonus!)

Once over at the cottage, the next surprise was a raccoon maternity ward recently established in the screened porch.  A few gentle suggestions (and I do mean gentle!) with a broom convinced mama coon to step out for a breath of fresh air. Then My Beloved transferred the actual birthing centre (the fleecy lined BBQ cover, shredded and wedged in under the portable table saw for extra coziness) to a more suitable but still cozy location under the porch where mother and the lone and very adorable occupant were quickly reunited. 

Apparently raccoons in labour crave wood....

And foam garden kneelers...

The cop and the coon were the only surprises day one. There wasn't even a single leak in the plumbing! Day two saw a huge wind develop that swept the clouds, rain and warmish temperatures off while continuing to keep the black flies at bay. Sunday morning we made coffee and lit a fire in at cottage with a 4 degrees Celsius (40 in Fahrenheit terms) temperature inside as well as out - is it a cottage or more of a wooden tent?!  With more of the same in the forecast for Sunday night we decided, after a ton of cleaning (no knitting I might add) to close it up and head for home late Sunday afternoon.

On Monday I did cottage laundry, some baking, gardening, knitting on Tangled Yoke, watched a bit of the Jay's latest win, had drinks with my sister and her family, and enjoyed our traditional long weekend rib fest. Through the wonders of technology I also made a brief, knitterly "visit" to San Diego and "dropped by" a new LYS I'm quite excited about.

Splitting the weekend between cottage and home didn't make it feel chopped up as I feared it might. It actually felt a bit longer I think - what more can you ask for in a long weekend than that? Whether yours was long, looong or regular length - 'hope it was a good one! Thanks for dropping by!


Loose Ends

Hey what happened with the reno/redec.?

The work we undertook mid February is largely finished. (reno terms translation... there's still a ton of work to do but at least the big and messy bits are completed.)

The room closest to being totally done is the Laundry room. Yes, "Laundry" -  capital L! I spend 20% of my week on that one task and the room in which I do that work is now fully deserving of upper case treatment!

Perhaps a bit of "before" (lower case!) best sets the stage. Don't be fooled by the slick photo ;)  it was every bit as dismal as it looks! (that sink is concrete and when full of ice it will work this summer and for years to come as a beer cooler in a friend's back yard - I love that!)

This was our jumping off point...

The paint, counter and floor samples above are sitting on a section of our kitchen floor. I wanted the newly reworked rooms to go with the rest of the house. Doing so makes the house seem more comfortable as a consistent feel flows from one room to the next. It also makes shopping easier as it forces the focus to be on complimentary finishes and treatments and helps me avoid getting carried away by the incredible number of choices and displays! The large creamy thing at the top represents the laundry cabinet door colour - I couldn't get a sample of them but the store did have these little tin cache pots that matched exactly so I bought one and carried it around for reference.

I painted every surface except the back splash in  "White Heron". It reminds me of skim milk - clean and cool and fresh which is nice with the creamier coloured cabinets. The dark shade is "Black Pepper". I used it on the back splash and as an accent on a couple of objects in the room. It looks grey until you put it beside the other samples when it suddenly seems to have a lot of blue in it.

Oh look - here they are now all together in my favourite corner by the window...
This is the same view as the "before" shot - the plumbing didn't move (there's a way to realize savings!) so for reference the faucet is in the same location in both pictures.

I love the details in the room. They make it a pleasure not only to be in there but to actually do the deeds of laundry and ironing...

I have a window ledge that now matches the rest of the house....I love the profile - especially against the deep colour of the back splash! The chalkboard was mine when I was growing up.

The new window sill is great for flowers...
Or my old "friend"  Charlie. Another item that's been around as long as I can remember.  He predates me though - he's from my Grandmother's and is  probably 60 years old or more. If you soak him and then pat grass seed all over his skull he grows green hair! I love his expression.

After a fresh coat of "White Heron" I even love the exposed duct work! 

The dozen or so drawers in this wheeled beauty is where I store my circsdpn's, crochet hooks and other knitting and sewing notions. I painted it to match the back splash. See how blue it looks!

This keeps my coffee hot!!!!...

Guess why this is my favourite cupboard...
Because it houses my knitting patterns, magazines, books, swatches. I've been known to iron with the doors open just to look at the view of all that fun stored in there!
I'm totally satisfied with this outcome because not only does it feel good it functions efficiently as any workroom should, which after all, is what this room is. 

I saved big time on a number of things in this room (other than the plumbing).
  • I used a floating DIY floor rather than ceramic and saved on both materials and installation.
  • The appliances are all energy star (there's a small chest freezer and fridge as well) so there should be significant water and energy savings.
  • By researching the appliances I was able to take advantage of a manufacturer's rebate on the laundry pair and qualify for a water saver grant from the city.
  • I had to dig but this pair is one size down from the huge variety that comes in all the fancy colours etc.  Its still large capacity - it has cut down on my wash loads by at least 3 a week - but it was much more reasonably priced than its larger, fancier counterparts and they take up less room too!
  • When I learned a ready made formica counter would be 90% less than the custom one needed to span the washer/dryer if set side by side I changed to a stacked configuration in the next heartbeat and saved big time!
  • I reused existing pieces (shelving/the rolling multi drawer unit/all the hanging racks, storage bins and baskets, even the pot lights were ones that had been removed from another location in the house four years ago and have been tucked away in the garage ever since.)
  • We also did all the painting ourselves.
If we'd done the work without an eye towards capturing any and all possible savings I wouldn't be as tickled with the end result as I am. It works, it looks good and we got it done at a very reasonable cost.

With the economy in slow motion it was also a great time to get work on the house done.  The contractor was immediately available and we weren't competing with other jobs for his time. Many items were on sale and delivery times were shorter than normal.

I keep a file of tear sheets for inspiration on decorating projects (its almost empty now as we've worked our way through the house) but the magazine page I used for the Laundry room is from 2000! That's about 5000 loads of laundry ago. That's one big loose end all tied up!


May = Birthdays

...at least around here it does!

Numerous friends and family celebrate this month - including me - and its also the month when some of my all time favourite friends from school days celebrate and those dates have always stuck with me.

I fully admit though I'm super lousy at sending cards. I'm fabulous at buying them, filling them in, addressing and even putting stamps on them.  I just have a problem with mailing or delivering them.  Nonetheless I always do remember those people on their special May days. So between celebrating family birthdays and remembering birthdays of friends with cards I can't seem to send haunting me the whole month you can see how May really is the birthday month in my mind.

In the whole month though, today is my favourite because its the anniversary of the arrival of  this spectacular human being...
Since he was three months old, that smile has been an almost permanent fixture on his face.  It does feature more teeth now though! (And the head - at least for the moment, has a lot more hair.)

He's requested spaghetti and Banana Chocolate cake for dinner.  I'll also make a salad - he'll enjoy pushing it around on his plate; and garlic bread - he'll enjoy pushing that down his throat!

The festivities won't be helpful for knitting. I did rip back the Cabling on Tangled Yoke as planned so maybe after the dishes are done tonight I'll be able to squeeze in taking a run at the set up row. 

And speaking of squeezing in knitting, it suddenly occurred to me I need some car knitting ASAP as the first long weekend of the summer and opening of the cottage is this weekend! I'm thinking about socks for that purpose and I have a few tantalizing possibilities in my wee tiny stash.

Retro Rib Socks from Interweave's "Favourite Socks" using my new "Tanis" yarn is currently leading the pack.

No doubt the butter has now sufficiently softened to allow for creaming - I'd better get to baking that cake! Have a great day!


Mother's Day Redux

(Ceramic Tile Trivet circa grade II - No. 1 Son)
Annual feature of the Mother's Day Dinner Table!

I was well and properly feted yesterday - Darling Daughter made me a very sweet card, did some photo printing and framing for me and served dinner at which my mother was a featured guest.

My Beloved did more than his usual doting. In fact he actually treated the whole weekend as one big long 48 hour mother's day.

Number One Son lived the adage of making lemonade from lemons when the wooden ring he was carving for me broke in half so he punted and turned the woodwork into a pair of earrings!

His version of the "rubber" ends he's seen on straight from the store earrings are drops of hot glue. Did you already guess what he used to make the "wires"?...

Things were a bit tense as I tried to get the thicker-than-ideal wires through my ears, as it was as the "chef" for the evening was trying to get a complete and hot meal to the table but both my "babies" made a full success of their efforts, prompting spontaneous applause over dessert and coffee.

For my mother I did her the favour of basting her crocheted jacket together (the one I was blocking in this post) and had it ready when she arrived for a pre-dinner fitting. I had all the pieces on hand because last week I blocked the sleeves for her. 
I will assemble it for her now that we know the fit is perfect.  Once back in her hands she will crochet a stabilizing stitch around the bottom edge and pick up to make the collar.  I wasn't sure she'd be comfortable with the idea of me working on it - she is an extreme perfectionist with her crafts but she was thrilled at the prospect of a sooner than anticipated finish line.

Sadness did intrude into the evening though when my sister called during dinner to let us know her father-in-law had passed away yesterday afternoon. He was 89, had a fabulous life and without any actual disease, his body just wore out.  He fought to be released from hospital last week in the hopes of dying at home so the news was somewhat bitter sweet.  This means another funeral home event and another funeral a scant two weeks since our last one! This week I also have to tackle my portion of the thank you notes for all the kindesses we received following my brother's recent passing.

Fortunately, the spectacular weather we've been having - not too hot and with sufficient rain to be good for the gardens, lawn and my late planting schedule (The garlic is already up!)
...is helping to keep my mood generally bright. But there is an unmistakable "cloud" of death and mourning that nonetheless seems to just hang in the air. It feels like that morning fog you drive through in the country. Sometimes obscuring, sometimes briefly obliterating, the lovely liveliness of spring. From past experience,I know this is to be expected. I know too that by acknowledging rather than trying to ignore it, it will pass.

Acknowledging it does take energy though. Lots of it. Sadness is draining. I can barely keep my eyes open after 9:30 and I can sleep right through my typical early morning rising time - very unusual - very telling.  I'm trying to respect the natural necessity of this process but since my knitting time is in the evening, all this sleepiness is having a very detrimental effect on my productivity. Plus the little waking time I've had to dedicate to Tangled Yoke has shown me that its time to rip it back to the point where the cabling starts.  Something is not working and I've spent enough time trying to sort it out, I now know it'll be faster to start over.  That section is only a dozen and a half rows - if I do it all at once, error free work should follow.

Interestingly I'm not feeling compelled to start something mindless in its stead - my two recent FO's - scarf and slippers seem to have satisfied me in that regard so I'm sticking with TY. Hopefully I'll have the necessary time awake tonight to do the deed of ripping right after dinner.

I hope, whether you celebrated Mother's Day as a Mother or someone with one or both or just as a Sunday in spring, yesterday was a good one for you and that you were knitting rather than ripping!

Thanks for dropping by!


In the Garden

I'm enthralled with the combinations of soft, almost imperceptible pink and that lit-from-within bright green that the garden seems to be bursting with at this time of year...

"Parrot" tulips - the name is so apt - the essence of beaks and feathers all at the same time!

Euonamous alata "Burning Bush" - the pink will disappear once the the leaves on this fully emerge...
Oh so showy heuchera - who needs flowers when you can get this all season long?!...
I love their position in the garden that allows for this spectacular effect of back lighting in the mid afternoon and the combination of this plant with this frilly Hosta inherited from my Grandfather's and then my Mother's gardens...
The hummingbird comes early in the morning to sip from each of these adorable little bells on the Pulmonaria...
The deep red blossoms of climber rose "Don Juan" are still weeks away but I can wait as between now and then, again there's that interplay of pink and green delicately asserting itself all along the canes.

All this is keeping me entertained as I attend to the more mundane and slightly depressing work of seeing to planting that should have been done a month or more ago...
The weather is still fairly cool - especially at night and the 14 day forecast seems to be holding with that pattern so I'm going to push my luck.  At worst I'll learn something - at best we'll have something to show for it in the end. 
This year We have a bunny who hops through the yard morning and evening so I didn't plant my usual lettuces and I'm holding off on parsley as well - I don't want to make him feel too welcome! Its also good to change things up and give the soil a break from the usual suspects.

With rain in the days ahead I'm going to finish topdressing and top seeding the lawns and maybe even divide a couple of perennials this morning.

I hope you have a great day, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.  Thanks for dropping by! 


Grown Up Booties FO

Pattern: "Grown Up Booties" by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: 1 Skein Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica
Colour: 114
Needles: 5mm
Start: April 24 Finish: May 2, 2009
Modifications: Added crochet edging to create better fit

I added BOWS at the back too!

They were quick and fun to knit - especially with this great multicoloured Manos! 
They are cute and cozy to wear - especially with this great multicoloured Manos! 


Whatever Happened To...

Tangled Yoke?
For weeks now TY has been balled up and waiting to once again see the world outside the knitting basket, where to steal a term from my friend "China Doll" it was "Resting".

Things are actually quite tantilizing with this knit because I believe - I don't know but I do believe - I set it down, mid row before making a stupid error.  I was struggling to keep my mind on the many repeats of the chart and when I realized that was the case I just set the whole works aside and up until last night, I haven't looked at it again.

This post it shows how far into the chart I've gone...
Here's it is in real life - see the little mind bending tangles starting to emerge!
Guess what my knitting plans for the weekend look like...

I don't have winter weekend-type delusions of finishing the yoke or anything. I have seasonally appropriate, springtime, the garden needs extreme attention before knitting can be undertaken, expectations that TY and I will spend some utterly pleasant time together over the next couple of days.

Thanks for dropping by - I hope you have an utterly pleasant weekend with your knits!