Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sex And The City 2

On Friday, we sent John, Rich and Fred off to the golf course and Francey and I took the GO train into The Big City to meet up with Nancy, Lorna, Sue and Erin. Our plan was to meet at 5:10, go for our dinner reservation at 5:15 and then head to AMC Dundas Square for the 7:20pm showing of Sex and The City 2. We've been planning this event for months and a couple of months ago Francey decided to fly up from Atlanta to join us.

Once Francey and I got to Union Station, we decided to walk up Bay St. and go into The Bay. At the Queen St. exit, we walked past the Thierry Mugley counter where several makeup artists were giving free 'makeovers' and we thought "Why not?" and booked ourselves a time. What really got our attention was a guy dressed all in white sporting real feathered angel wings.
Here, I'm asking Francey if my newly glossed lips make me look sexy.
And here we are, all 'glammed' up and ready to meet our friends for dinner.
On our way to meet the girls, we got our pictures taken with Miranda, Samantha, Carrie and Charlotte.

At dinner, Francey distributed the gifts she brought for each of us - little makeup bags embroidered with our nicknames from university in our sorority colours.

This is what 37 years of friendship looks like. ♥
From left to right: Erin (daughter of Sue), Geri, Nancy, Lorna, Francey and Sue.

After the movie, we went for drinks. Some of us enjoyed our first Bellini's. Much to our delight most of them had little red Sex and the City shoes on top.

I have learned that not only are Bellini's quite tasty they are very refreshing and probably quite nutritious ;-).

The weekend  had only just begun. The next day, we got together chez nous for a barbeque. I spent the afternoon looking up Bellini recipes on the Internet and attempting various batches.
This morning, Francey, Rich and I took a walk along the Waterfront Trail. As we were driving down my street, Francey noticed this great blue heron on the roof of the neighbour's house. Crazy!

This evening we'll all be going over to Lorna's for another barbeque. I'm sure more fun will ensue.

I sure love this summery weather. Good friends and good weather --- it doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Staying Cool

It has been very hot and sticky so I've been seeking out air-conditioned locales - restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores, my car, my house, etc.  Today Francey and I ran errands, including returning a couple of things and finding a tarp the correct size for our 10' x 13' gazebo. I did the math (including implementing the Pythagorean Theorem) and determined we needed a 15' by 20' tarp and it only took me 3 places to finally find it at Rona.

Tomorrow Francey and I are venturing into Toronto to do some shopping at the Eaton Centre and then will meet Lorna and Nancy after 5 to go for dinner before going to the 7:20 show of Sex and the City II. Sue and Erin will join us for dinner as well.

I continue to putter away on my Filigree sock; only a few more rows until I get to the ankle.

My 3rd Blogiversary

Today is the 3rd anniversary since I started this blog. I started it just before I retired from teaching as a way for me to chronicle my activities while making the transition from full-time teaching to my new life. I'm pleased I've had so many readers and since adding the nifty Flag Counter a couple of months ago, I've already been visited by 1,250 unique users from 55 different countries! Heaven only knows how some of the people have stumbled across my blog.

Today offered up record-breaking high temperatures. Skip and I golfed with David and Sue and only made it through 7 holes before we bailed and went for refreshments and lunch. Back at home, I spent some time attempting to put the house in some semblance of order in preparation for our visitors from Georgia (the US state, not the country), Francey and Rich who are arriving tomorrow morning. Between the two diet Cokes I had a lunch and the decaf iced latte I had this evening at our Mac Users group, I think I exceeded my caffeine limit which permits me to fall asleep. I'm also excited to see my friends and REALLY looking forward to the opening of Sex And The City II which several of us are going to attend on Friday.

Of course, in any balanced life, there is bad that comes with the good. I received word last week that a dear sorority sister of ours, Mary Beggan, lost her 3 1/2 year fight with breast cancer on April 21. I am so sorry to know she is no longer with us and her parents and siblings, her husband, Mark, and two daughters, Courtney and Kirsten.

Mary, we are so honoured to have known you. You were a wonderful and dedicated wife and mother and a very special daughter to your parents and beloved sibiling to your sisters and brother.

When the Gammas are all together this Friday night, we will be taking some time to share memories of you. We all certainly miss you.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Spring Garden

I have a lovely new camera (Canon Coolpix P100) and I'm trying to learn how to use it. While shooting some of the blooms in the garden yesterday, I discovered the macro setting.

This peony bush was planted in the last couple of years. The rest of our peonies are white or pale pink and bloom a couple of weeks later.

This globeflower plant is a favourite snack for our local rabbit. It is surrounded by chicken wire to protect it.

Bleeding heart is a good shade plant which blooms early.

I love these Siberian iris. The blooms are on tall spindly stems.

And here's a closeup of a bloom and a bud just above it.

These bearded iris haven't been a favourite in the past but I really like the rich, rusty red colour this year.

I'm making progress on the Filigree sock.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Where Do I Start?

After returning from Ottawa last Wednesday, I did laundry and loaded up my suitcase again to head to Sarnia for the 75th anniversary reunion of St. Patrick's High School where I taught for 11 years - mostly in the 80s. Thursday night was a staff get-together. About 80 of us assembled and enjoyed swapping reminiscences and catching up on the last 21 years since I left.

Friday evening, was a gathering at a local restaurant and bar. There must have been 500 people who showed up. My niece, Tay (in yellow), enjoyed some chat time with some of her friends.
Brian and Jody finally arrived from Akron, OH where they both work as academics.
I attended their wedding back in 1997 or so and have kept in touch on Facebook with them on and off over the past few years.

The next morning was the official ceremony and flag raising out in front of the school. Then I went for a leisurely lunch with Karen, one of my favourite former students.

That night was the 'big bash' at the Lambton College cafeteria. There were hundreds of people there.
Here is Karen flanked by Darryl and Jason Cole.
The whole weekend was a lot of fun. I'll be 81 at the 100th anniversary.

When I got home, our new fence was almost finished. Here's what it looked like before...

(taken in June 2008)

The yews on the neighbour's side were overgrown and spindly on the bottom. The 4-foot fence was also tilting towards their side. Last week, the neighbours cut down the yews and when the fence came down, it looked like this...
We definitely needed a taller fence. So our neighbour, Mike, who happens to be a high school tech teacher, agreed to put in the fence himself saving us both quite a bit of money. When Mike took the posts out we learned they had only been put in about 18". They should have gone down at least 3'. No wonder the fence was tilting.

Skip and I helped Mike finish it up. It looks awesome. Mike and Charlene were thrilled to get an additional 6' by 18' of grass where the yews had been taken out.

Ta Da!

It looks SO much better.

In knitting news, I finished the Latvian Dances socks.
I have started the Filigree socks with the Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight hand dyed yarn.
I tried doing the garter stitch cuff and it stretched out too much so I decided to do a Latvian Braid cuff instead.
I think they're going to look very spiffy.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Visiting Our Nation's Capital

Skip and I paid a visit to Ottawa these last few days. While there, we visited some of the places tourists typically visit like the ByWard Market and Sparks Street Mall.

We also visited National Gallery,

the Terry Fox monument which is situated directly in front of Parliament Hill on the south side of Wellington St.

and the Parliament Buildings and Peace Tower,

The Peace Tower not only stands as an architectural feature and landmark, it functions as a memorial. It houses the Memorial Chamber with stained glass windows and various other features illustrating Canada's war record, such as the brass plates made from spent shell casings found on battlefields that were inlaid into the floor, and bore the name of each of Canada's major conflicts during the First World War.
Books of Remembrance are placed there in which are written the names of all Canadian soldiers, airmen and seamen who lost their lives in service to the Crown (before 1931) and Canada (after 1931). The central feature of this chamber is the Book of Remembrance for the 66,000 servicemen who died during World War I.
There are steps up and inside this case is the actual Book of Remembrance.
The pages of this book are turned regularly so that each pair of pages appears to the public at least once during a year.

A few weeks ago, I learned that my maternal grandmother's brother, Carl Knapp Brown, had died on April 12, 1917, three days after he was injured at Vimy Ridge. I sent away for a copy of the page on which his name appears. This is a free service and can be applied for here. Within a couple of weeks, I received this letter.

and with it a copy of the title page of the Book of Remembrance,
and the page upon which his name (Private Carl Brown 42nd Batallion) appears.

I never knew my great-uncle, Carl, nor ever remember hearing Grandma speak about him. In spite of that, I got quite verklempt when I stepped up to the case and looked at the actual book from which this page came, knowing that this page was on display only last week.

The primary purpose of our trip, nowever, was to visit with my Aunt Margaret and Cousin Jeannie and her significant other, Jim. Margaret will be celebrating her 93rd birthday this June 29 (which also happens to be my wedding anniversary). Margaret lives in a retirement home which is only 2 years old. We got the grand tour and enjoyed a couple of dinners in the grand dining room. It felt like we were in a very nice hotel.

Jeannie is a wonderful hostess and we enjoyed her warm hospitality (and yummy meals) while we stayed at her lovely home.

While waiting for dinner last night, Jeannie, Margaret and I posed for a girl's family photo.
The entire trip was great. We especially enjoyed the warm, summer weather and although there were hardly any tulips left in bloom during their Tulip Festival, we still had a great time visiting family and seeing the sights.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A Quick Post

I'm getting ready to go to the Sit 'n Knit tonight at Kniterary but just finished the first Latvian Dances sock.
The toe was a simple star toe so the finishing was very fast. This sock only used 23g of the multicoloured yarn so after doing the other sock, I'll still have enough to do a second pair.

And now, to finish the second sleeve of Skip's St. Moritz sweater.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Latvian Dances

Things are progressing nicely on the first Latvian Dances sock.

The sole has its own pattern,

as well as the instep. 

Here's a side view --

and another.

I can't wait to finish it and get the second one cast on.

My First Track Meet

This morning Skip and I ventured westward to attend Scooter's track meet at Etobicoke's Centennial Park. Although Scooter is in Grade 11, this is the first year he has tried out for his school's Track and Field team, so it was the first time I had a good reason to attend an actual track meet. Skip ran track in high school and won a 4 x 100 relay with his brother (and two others) when he was in Grade 11 (which we realized today was 49 years ago !).

We got to the venue a few minutes before the 9:30am start. We watched hurdles and several 800m races. Scooter was competing in the senior men's 800m race which wasn't going to start until a bit later.

It was a cold, overcast and blustery day. Skip and I were fairly well bundled up but I felt sorry for the kids who were competing, many in shorts and tank tops.

Had it been less windy and even a wee bit sunny, we wouldn't have had to be so well bundled up.

Here, Scooter, is relaxing with his teammates before his event was called for first marshalling. The sunglasses were strictly ornamental.

Before the race, Skip gave Scooter some tips on how to run an 800m race effectively and a brief pep talk.

Scooter seemed genuinely pleased that we made the effort to be there. We didn't see any other parents. I guess someone has to work to keep the economy going.

At about 11am, his heat was called to the starting line. Three or four kids shared pairs of lanes and at 100m, they could all run to the inside lane of the oval. Scooter is 224 in the centre with the enormous red shorts.
And off they went.

Here, Scooter is just completing the first of two laps of the track.

And before we knew it, it was over. He had a good run for his first time ever competing. Unfortunately, he didn't advance to the finals, nor will he be travelling to London for the Ontario Finals next week.

He was originally set to run the 400m yesterday but decided to stay at school and write his Physics test. Also, the 4 x 100m  event he was training for fell apart when one of the other 3 kids got yanked from the team because he was failing a subject at school.

Back in the fall when Scooter ran cross-country, his plan was to do it again next year, his final year before heading off to university, and also run track the following spring. We'll see if he still plans to do that.

After bidding farewell, Skip and I headed for the nearest Tim Horton's to warm up and have lunch. My coffee has never tasted better.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

A Knitting Questionnaire

I found this list of questions on Ladylungdoc's blog and though I'd copy and paste them into mine. Thanks, Lisa. I also added the last 2 questions.

What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Merino, alpaca. Anything soft but not splitty.

What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a needle roll for the straights and keep the circs in a monthly cheque file and a largeish cosmetic bag.

How long have you been knitting? Off and on (mostly off) since I was a kid but very obsessively since October of 2006.

How did you learn? I believe my grandmother taught me. I used an old instruction book with diagrams to learn new techniques. Since 2006, I've taken a couple of classes (cables and fair isle with Fiona Ellis) but mostly use Internet videos to learn new techniques (Latvian braid, nupps, etc.)

Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I would say at this point that I am between intermediate and advanced levels.

Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?Yes on the KnitPicks website.

What’s your favorite scent? Apple and cinnamon, lavender, cloves, allspice.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Yes! To the point of gluttony.

Favorite candy? I like anything with caramel, nuts, peanut butter, chocolate or a combination of them.

What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I was an avid cross-stitcher before I took up knitting in 2006. I have also done embroidery, some crocheting and needlepoint. I used to do calligraphy before computers were able to do it so well. I also have a full stained glass studio in my basement that I haven't used since I moved into this house 14 years ago.

Do you spin? Dye? I have done both. Most recently (yesterday) I bought a beautiful Bolivian rosewood Turkish drop spindle and spun and plied a cute little 9 gram skein. I took a dyeing workshop last September at On The Lamb in Uxbridge and LOVED the results. I have a bunch of bare seacell that I'm just waiting to dye when the weather gets warmer and can work outside.

What kind of music do you like? Being a classically trained musician (oboist) I really favour classical (small 'c') music. However I enjoy almost every other genre where orchestral instruments are used and one can easily understand the lyrics (if any). I get somewhat irritated by tunes that are monotonous and repetitive or where people are screaming into microphones. I LOVE Latin music, particularly dance music and pretty much any other ethnic music.

Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Yes.

What’s your favorite colour(s)?
Jewel tones - blues, greens, purples, golds, reds.

Any colours you just can’t stand? Not really.

What is your family situation? One awesome husband, one terrific teenaged step-son (I am truly blessed), one sister and all her family.

Do you have any pets? One cat that we've owned since August of 1999.

Are you allergic to any pets? I don't think so.

Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? yes, yes, yes and no.

What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I tend to go through phases. Two years ago was my sock phase, last year a lace phase and this year was my mitten phase. I have also been quite fond of knitting cables and fair isle.

What is on your needles right now? A Dale of Norway St. Moritz sweater for my husband, Latvian Dances socks for the Roseneath Fair Homecraft competition, a cable hat with Malabrigo worsted, two shawls, a pair of Selbu gloves and a mini clapotis. Those are all the active projects. I have a few UFOs that are hibernating.

Do you read knitting books? Yes.

What kind of books i.e. technique, pattern, fiction? I like reading technique books and books about knitting (i.e. Elizabeth Zimmermann). I have a few fiction books but I knit so much I don't take the time to read. I try to find current best-sellers (non-knitting books) on DVD so I can rip them to my iPod. I particularly like books on ethnic knitting techniques - Estonian, Latvian, Norwegian, Swedish, etc.

Do you like to receive handmade gifts? All gifts are gratefully appreciated.

Do you prefer straight or circular needles? I use straights with smallish flat projects but try to find a way to do all the knitting with one circular - Magic loop. I really don't like using dpns any more - too many points!

Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I prefer bamboo or wooden straights and wood or stainless steel circs.

Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes and yes.

How old is your oldest UFO? Nothing more than 3.5 years old.

What is your favorite holiday? Any travelling anywhere with my husband or girlfriends.

What winter holiday do you observe? A secular Christmas.

Is there anything that you collect? Knitting needles, souvenir yarn, knitting books and patterns.

Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? Some of the new sock books, the new Swedish pattern book, a good book on Swedish Twined knitting,  Annemor Sundbo's book "Knitting in Art" ($$$$) and a book on Haapsalu stitch patterns called "The Haapsalu Shawl" ($$$$)

What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Interweave Knits.

Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn? None that I can think of offhand but I'm always open to learn new things.

Are you a sock knitter? yes.

What are your foot measurements? Women's 8.5. My foot is 10" long and 9" around at my bunion.

When is your birthday? April 23.

Are you on Ravelry? yes - my Ravelry ID is 'geri'.

Are you on KnitPicks Knitting Community? No

Do you listen to knitting podcasts? If yes, what are your favourite ones? Yes, I enjoy the KnitPicks podcast, She-Knits podcast, Sticks and Strings, Never Not Knitting, Knit More Girls, Knitty Nora's Knitting Natter, and Sweaters for Dragons.

Do you tend to always have a knitting project with you when you leave the house? Yes! One never knows when there will be a lull in the activity when I can knit.