Sunday, 30 December 2007

Autumn Windmills

Pictured here is the quilt that I gave to my father in law for Christmas. It is composed of a traditional quilt block called 'Dutchman's Puzzle'. I was fortunate to win them at my local quilt meeting during September.
It did provide me with some learning opportunities. According to the pattern the blocks should have finished at 12 inches. Not a one of them was actually that size. In fact they varied by as much as an inch. Note the block in the top left corner; I had to add strips of muslin to the top and left side of it to bring it up to size. Not a big deal.
The next challenge was that I wanted to back the quilt with a piece of dark, leaf printed polar fleece. This would have shown through the cream coloured fabrics and made the quilt look dark. It would have lost the crispness between the light and autumn coloured prints. The solution was to cut 12 squares of plain muslin at 12 1/2 inches and pin them in place behind each block. This also served to bring each block up to the size stated in the pattern.
Now that each block was the same size, it was straight forward to add the sashing and corner stones. The outer edge is finished with double fold binding in the same colour as the outer boarder. The quilt finished approximately 58 x 73 inches.
Hopefully the quilt is now in my father in laws den where it will keep him warm during the chilly months to come.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

On the 12Th day of Christmas...

A fun day was had by all family members. We each did those things that needed doing. The kids are long in bed and Santa has paid his visit. Parents are ready to snuggle under the covers and all is well. Good Night.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

On the 11Th day of Christmas...

We're into the last minutes of the day and I'm still sewing on a gift. Its not that I didn't know I had a deadline, after all, December 25Th arrives as the same point every year. I guess my timing could use some improvement. I still have a few hours work to do, so will keep this short so I can do a bit more before sleep time.

Again, there were presents to day. A music disk for son. A Bratz doll for daughter, which happens to be missing a foot (the shoes are part of the detachable foot). I've sent an email to the company asking for a replacement, will be interesting to see their response. For hubby, a bag of Jack Daniels filled chocolates. I had originally planned to give them to him this past Monday, but that was a work day and the idea didn't seem too bright.

There won't be typical presents tomorrow morning, though I do intend to make a nice breakfast mid morning. As far as I'm concerned, if someone were to make me a hot breakfast, I would consider it a wonderful gift.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

On the 10Th day of Christmas...

Today was a visiting day. We were out of town to visit at the house of my cousin, her hubby and 3 little kids. Joining us for the day was her mother, her brother and his wife and 3 little kids. Also my older sister, her hubby and their 5 kids. Needless to say, it was a house full. The little kids (5 out of 6 are girls) are getting older, so a bit more character and personality developing. Its always neat to see the kids growing into themselves.

I love these family gatherings and wish we would plan them more often. We all live in different cities and with jobs and such, its harder to see each other. We have been keeping better contact by using the Internet, but nothing beats sitting beside each other and chatting.

Yes, there were presents for my family today, but I figure they pale in comparison with visiting family, so they are not being mentioned.

Friday, 21 December 2007

On the 9th day of Christmas...

As it gets closer to the 25Th, the kids get more excited and harder to handle. Several years ago we started giving them a movie a few days early and they would watch and re-watch it. That was enough to get them through those few days. As they have gotten older we have moved from Disney Cartoons and now to action flicks.

This morning hubby received the new Bruce Willis movie "Live Free or Die Hard". It is rated 13+, so have yet to determine whether its appropriate for daughter.

This morning she was happy with a pair of purple socks with a skull cross bones surrounded by flowery looking things.

Son was even happier as he received food. They are a rolled cook which is filled with a cappuccino cream. They are about the thickness of my baby finger but twice as long. The brand name is Caprice, but I don't know what you call the cookies.

I am looking forward to watching our new movie this evening and helping daughter with the Christmas tree.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

On the 8th day of Christmas...

Does your family have holiday rituals or traditions? When we got married we knew that we would start some new ones, and when we had kids those would change as the kids made their suggestions and preferences known. Its been fun.

For years it was filling the Santa calendar that I introduced you to on day one. This year no one is even moving Santa along. I guess that is a tradition that has served its time and we are ready for a new one. I'm OK with that, we are not a family living in stasis, but a active, evolving 'organism'.

When I was growing up we usually got our tree a few days before the 25Th and kept it up into January for Ukrainian Christmas. We still get our tree late, but it rarely stays around till New Years. Is a shame to chuck it out so fast, I don't mind the dropping needles that much and it generally smells so nice.

When we got married I started buying the Droste chocolate letters for both of us. They are not too big and come in a pretty box. I did learn that you have to buy them the first time you see them in the store or risk not getting the correct letter. I tried to get them this year, but all I could find were my initial and 3 of the initial for our last name. OK, better that than nothing, so I bought them. Fortunately about 2 weeks later I found all the initials in another store and bought more. So this morning, for their 8Th day of Christmas they received the initial for our last name, those for their first name will wait for their stockings.

Hopefully hubby will bring home a tree this evening, and daughter will perform her traditional decorating of the tree. yippee, love that one.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

On the 7th day of Christmas...

When I started this 12 days of Christmas thing, I didn't realize that it would be so tough thinking up worthwhile gifts to give to each member of my family. I generally like to give them things that they need and will enjoy. Doing it this way is forcing me into the gift giving. arg!!!

I did manage to find some nice black socks for hubby this morning. We started giving black socks a few years ago when they was an advertising that bemoaned people receiving black socks as gifts at Christmas. I spoke with mother about it, and we decided that everyone in the extended family would receive black socks. It was quite the event shopping for them as the sizes ranged from new-born to men's extra long. I think we bought 18 pairs of socks.

Son likes math and science and I was fortunate to find this book, "The Birth of a New Physics" by I. Bernard Cohen. It looks like a very readable book which I'm sure he'll enjoy.

Daughter is currently doing a school project on the Vikings. When we saw this book, "Viking it and Liking it" by Jon Scieszka, she knew that she would glean some valuable background material from it. While it is written at about a grade 3 or 4 level, I suspect that she will still enjoy the story.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

on the 6th day of Christmas...

This past weekend we had huge amounts of snow fall. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30 cm( or 12 inches). Hubby has made it to Chicopee, our local ski hill, twice in the past few days.
Keeping to the current weather spirit, his gift this morning is "North American Ski Resorts" by Marty MacLennan. This 2001 book covers resorts in Canada and the USA. There is a wealth of information for each resort including: location, facilities, family services, local community and tons of contact numbers.
Also in the trend, all three received Cadbury Magical Elves. These are chocolate elves with 'popping' candy. Kind of an interesting feeling in your mouth. Myself, I don't really want my chocolate jumping all around, by my kids love them.

Monday, 17 December 2007

On the 5th day of Christmas...

My day started with a rush. I had forgotten to put out each of the gifts. They were selected and sitting in a grocery bag but not on the table. Hubby pretended not to notice while I place a bag of mini Coconut Chocolate bars at his place. Son came downstairs shortly and immediately unwrapped his over-sized Hershey bar. Then he re-wrapped it and put it in his lunch bag. Ok, I guess its better than eating no lunch.
Daughter has a snow day from school, no buses, so It was a while before she descended to find issue 1 of Faeries' Landing by You Hyun. This story is printed American style and reads from front to back. It is aimed at a 13+ girl audience. My daughter is in a phase where she loves anything magical, so this attracted her immediately.
Perhaps by now you are noticing a trend in my gifts, chocolate does tend to factor largely in our eating lives. I love the feel of it in my mouth. What else is there to say.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

on the 4th day of Christmas...

Today we are being visited by a major winter storm. I thought that my gifts should be of a more personalized manner.
For daughter a package of scrap booking supplies, they are some three-D stickers with her initial. Hubby received some Toffifee, which have been a hit with the whole family. Guess I need to buy a full size box, not this sample size.
My son has spent the day reading the book he received, 'Horrible Facts: the grim, the gruesome and the ghastly' from Brain Benders. I didn't make it through the first two pages with its stories of tapeworms and other very gross examples. My son says its perfect and he is almost half way through. He loves books of facts and such.
PS, the Tassimo did make it onto the counter today and daughter says the hot chocolate is 'awesome'.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

on the 3rd day of Christmas

We have been debating the purchase of a new coffee maker for the past while. All agreed upon the Tassimo machine. Hubby and son were visiting a friend and used his machine. They both felt that the coffee was quite good.
Even though the machine is destined for a space under the tree, today they received their personal supplies. Daughter, a package of hot chocolate disks, son received cappuccino and hubby, the coffee disks.
Thanks to Tassimo for the picture that you are viewing.

Friday, 14 December 2007

on the 2nd Day of Christmas...

On the Second Day of Christmas I gave to my true loves...

My daughter was thrilled with the pink, glass Christmas Tree. It stands about 15 inches tall. So why a pink tree? I was browsing in the store one day and saw this tree and thought my daughter would love it, but perhaps the price a bit much, so didn't purchase it. When looking through a local magazine a week ago, I came across a pic of all the similar sized trees on sale at that particular store. I asked my daughter if she was interested in a tree for her room and told her that I had seen one I liked and if she chose the same one, I would buy it for her. Without one moment of hesitation she pointed out the same tree. The rest is history...

For my son I gave a laminated sheet of guitar cords. I could hear the pleasure in his voice as he pulled it out of the package and realized what it was and commented to all in hearing range.

At my Bookcrossing meeting last evening, one of the other members suggested that I 'catch' this Rough Guide to James Bond book and bring it home for hubby.

It is now in his possession.

This 2002 publication profiles each movie including actors, director, a synopsis of the plot. Further in the book is a chapter on various James Bonds, a chapter on James Bond Girls, followed by Villains, Gadgets and music and more. This pocket size book is a mine of Bond facts and pictures.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

On the First Day of Christmas I gave to my true loves...

For the previous 13 Christmas's I have hung this advent calendar. The first year my sister Nancy helped me fill all the pockets with chocolate. It was only minutes before it fell of the wall with a crash and bundles of chocolate went rolling and bouncing across the room. Ok, so i learned to only put a few days of chocolate in it at one time.
As my children got older and more daring, I had to resort to filling i t one day at a time as they were prone to sneak days ahead.
This year I didn't put it on the wall until this morning so I could take this picture. Instead I thought I would surprise them with gifts for the 12 Days of Christmas. I haven't been able to determine whether they should start today, or does the counting start on the 25Th and continue into January. Using gift givers license, I decided to start today.
For the first day of Christmas I gave to my true loves, Sweetness. We can all use more of it some days. Hubby promptly ate his, son sort of grunted a thanks, and daughter shook her box of Smarties and put them in her lunch bag.
I don't know what I'll give them next, but I hope to have fun searching. I do plan to stop at the music store...

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Mitts are still working

I got out for another run on Monday. Yippee, the mitt effect is still working. We are having freezing rain today, so will see how it goes tomorrow. Might have to walk instead.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Hind Shadow Mitt

I haven't been doing much running lately. It started with a sore foot about 3 weeks ago, and then I just didn't get back outside. I don't have a treadmill, so I always run outdoors. Its been nasty weather here lately so I really didn't want to go out.

Yesterday my neighbour (also a runner) brought me a new pair of running mitts. They have a wind proof layer on the top of the hand, a breathable palm and most wonderful is the terry covered thumb. Terrific for wiping the nose. Its been awful taking off the mitt to get out a tissue, now I don't have to, I am so excited. Well, truth be told, I was so excited this morning that I went for a run. 4k and every step reminded me that I hadn't been out for a while, but I sure did feel good. Oh, I love these mitts.

Who would have suspected that a pair of mitts would have done so much for me.

Now to wait for hubby to get that hot tub installed, imagine what that will do for my post run routine!!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I watched this movie several months ago and it struck me that I didn't know the stories behind many of the main characters. That is, the Gentlemen. These include: Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, Dorian Gray, Agent Tom Sawyer(?), Mr. Hyde and the Invisible Man, and also Minna Harker.

Yes, I know who they are, but I don't know their stories. It set me to wondering whether I would have got more from the movie if I did know their histories.

I have set myself the task of finding and reading the following:

Dracula by Bram Stoker (Minna Harker)
Captain Nemo by Jules Verne
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Currently reading:

King Solomon's Mines, Allan Quatermain, by H. Rider Haggard

it shall be interesting to see whether my current understanding of each character is anything near what the author originally put to paper.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Perfect Copy : Unravelling the Cloning Debate by Nicholas Agar

After reading this book it is easy to understand that real life cloning is nothing like that portrayed in movies. As of the printing of this book in 2002, there had been no reported successful cloning of a human. That doesn't stop the author from exploring the many moral and ethical issues surrounding the possible and future cloning of humans. The two reasons for cloning that he examines in detail are for reproduction and the creation of replacement organs.
The presentation of the facts and the arguments of those both for and against cloning is the clearest I have ever read. One argument against cloning says to the effect, 'in our hearts we just know that it is morally wrong'. I loved the way that Mr. Agar deconstructed that angle.
After digesting the information in this book, i still don't know whether I agree with the idea, but i do understand that man will clone because we can.
I found this book at a Bookcrossing meeting and thought it would be interesting. It turned out to be a riveting read. Thanks to the donor for sharing it.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Hello Kitty Quilt is Finished

Yippee, Its finally finished and on my daughter's bed. She is so happy. Her name for the quilt is "Pretty Hello Kitty".

I will be adding a label to the back and making at least one pillowcase to compliment the quilt.

This was a challenging project. Not that the sewing was difficult. But that it took a leap of faith to try a new technique that used such large strips of fabric that you sewed on to the block, and then slashed off half of it. Also, I find it hard when I have to be trimming over sized blocks. I consider any block over 12 1/2 inches in considered over sized. Then there was a added challenge of using the hankies which ranged in size from 9 inches up to 15 inches. eeks. On top of that they weren't perfectly square. arg.

I have included two close up pictures to show the machine quilting. I used a variegated pink/red cotton thread. It turned out to be the perfect choice. All the quilting was done freehand on a regular sewing machine.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Trying hard to keep focused

I am working hard on the Hello Kitty Quilt. Have read a wee bit in the newest book, PerfectCopy: Unravelling the Cloning Debate by Nicholas Agar.

It was a snow day for my daughter yesterday, but she encouraged me to finish attaching the binding to her quilt. So it is now on by machine and needs to be folded to the back and neatly hand stitched down. The last step will be to add a label and then it will seek her bed. yippee.

I am concentrating on this quilt and really want to get it finished. Unfortunately there are so many other projects to distract me. In fact I have a quilt class this evening and it will be a new project. arg. I signed up for the class as part of my social life, not that I needed to start a new project.

Back to my stitching.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Good Sewing Progress

Wanted to send a progress update.

The quilting is now finished on the Hello Kitty quilt and I am ready to cut the binding and apply it. Will be posting a picture as soon as that is done.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

The Experiment by John Darnton

This 1999 books cuts very close to reality. It is a medical who done it that explores the underworld of cloning. The main character Jude is researching a news story on Identical twins when to his surprise he finds that he has a mysterious identical twin, Skylar. While the two of them work together to solve their mystery, they become enmeshed in a plot that reaches in the upper realms of the FBI, politics and big business.
The author kept throwing in curves and twist at every step. It definitely kept me turning pages eager for what would happen next.
Thanks to my sister for passing this book my way.

Monday, 19 November 2007

What to Read?

I am currently reading my 99Th book of the year. This is the first time since I started keeping a book log in 1993 that I have come anywhere near that number. I admit that some where shorter, but some where also massive tomes exceeding 1000 pages. eeks. If you are curious of which books they are check my Bookcrossing Shelf.

I don't think it is of much importance that I have read a large number of books, rather its the variety of authors and genres. I get my books from a number of sources, family, friends, foundlings, and recommendations from all over. This year I read lots by Canadian authors so I would have them to take overseas on vacation and be able to give them away (the books not the authors). Lately I have read a number of fiction that are similar to Biographies (don't know what the name of this genre). Mixed in were some rather strange fantasy, children's novels and even non-fiction. Yes, even a bunch of romances, most of them being set in the Regency era.

I have enjoyed almost every one of them. That doesn't mean that I would recommend them all, not by any chance. But for me, they all filled some sort of niche.

So, if a book strikes your fancy, go ahead and read it regardless of what the critics say, or what your family or friends say. Its up to you.

In case you are wondering, today I am reading 'The Experiment' by John Darnton. I welcome your suggestions.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

You have to work on a project to finish it!!!

Kinda a profound thought. I often start projects that tend to languish once I have done the part I really enjoy, which happens to be the concept and design phase. After I have started working on it and realize that its going to work and be a success, i really have no interest in finishing it.

Today I was working on a 'Hello Kitty' quilt for my daughter. Several years back my sister mailed me 12 hankies from Japan with the Hello Kitty character on them. It took a while to figure out a pattern so I could use all of them together. I used a technique by Sharyn Squier Craig called Twist'n Turn. Its a terrific way of using different size blocks together without having to cut them all to a specified size. The pictures and samples are very inspiring.

I am working on quilting the actual hankies and then will do the quilting of the boarder and finally the binding. Hope to post a pic for all to see within the next week.

Its good to get back to a project and work and it continuously and see the progress. I will be so happy to finish this, and so will my daughter.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Canadian Comfort and Remembrance Project

This is a very worthwhile project that is making comfort quilts for the families of Canadian Soldiers killed in the line of duty.

The Blocks shown here have been specially designed for these quilts. The one on the left has been fused and machine appliqued, and the one on the right has been traditionally pieced. They are not easy blocks, but when you think of the work our soldiers are doing, what is a little extra effort on my part. I plan to send these blocks along to another quilter whose guild will include them in the quilts that they are assembling. If you would like the pattern for these blocks (along with a paper pieced one) please check the CCRP website.
There is another project called Quilts of Valour which also supply quilts to our wounded soldiers. This project is an offshoot of the program operating in the United States. This group has made denim quilts for our seriously wounded soldiers. They have also made "Flaming Star Quilts" for the mothers and spouses of our fallen soldiers. For details on this project, please visit the QOV website.
If you are not a quilter and would like to become involved, donations of money and fabric would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith

This is a very cool book.
Stark is the hero of this 'detective' novel. He lives in the COLOUR neighbourhood (where the surroundings respond to the clothing you are wearing and to your moods). The country is mostly one large city composed of a huge numbers of neighbourhoods, each with their particular idiosyncrasies.
He is on the search for a missing scientist from the next neighbourhood. Throughout the course of this search, Stark comes to realize that it has all been about him.
This is a book that you want to take your time reading. I am still trying to decide if this world is made up of multiple realities, or is it Stark's perception of reality at various times in his life that have created the realities.
He sums it up in one paragraph near the end of the book:"Everything you've done, everything you've seen, everything you've become, remains. You never can go back, only forward, and if you don't bring the whole of yourself with you, you'll never see the sun again."This book definitely deserves to be reread, perhaps several times.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Comfort Quilt

I think that it's every parent's nightmare that there child is injured and that there is nothing you can do to make it better. Recently a member of an online quilt guild (Maple Leaf Quilt Guild) experienced just that. Her daughter was shot in a drive by shooting. At this time it looks that she will have a good recovery.
As a mother, my heart went out to the two of them. As a quilter, I thought that I have to make her a quilt. Fortunately my online guild had completed some 'round robin' quilts for just such a situation. I added a final bright pink boarder, backed it with a soft pink fleece, some machine quilting and voila. A quilt to bring comfort.
For those not familiar with a Round Robin. It started with the log cabin block at the middle. This was mailed to a member who then added a small boarder around the block and the large white triangles that turned the block on point. Next member added her boarder of blue flowers and green leaves. Off in the mail again to the next member who added the row of striped hearts. The final member added the row of floral squares. Then it came home to rest with me until it found a need.
It was a wonderful way to participate in making a round robin, without the commitment of a huge quilting project. My mother will be delivering the quilt to the member sometime this week. I hope that it brings her the comfort and all the love and care that went into the making of it.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

None of us are getting any younger

My Grandmother is in hospital having suffered two heart attacks. So I made her a quilt and took it to her. Truth be told, I made the quilt blocks several years back and finally got around to spending a few hours putting them together. I put cozy fleece on the back so it would be cuddly and warm. She was so pleased. She was calling over each nurse as they came into her room and showing it off. I suspect that she will have the best show and tell on the floor for the next few days.

Question for myself is, 'Why did it take me so long?'. As stated, I made these blocks at least 4 years ago, so why didn't I put it together at that time. I knew that both of us are getting older and that she can't live forever. She is 91 after all. Did I really think that by not finishing it, she would live forever? was I trying to deny my own mortality? I don't know the answer, but I do know that I have a few other projects that really should get finished in the near future.

To the left is the first quilt that I made for my grandmother. Its a sampler of all sorts of blocks. Some pieced, appliqued, embroidered, cross-stitched, and coloured with markers and crayons and such. One even survived a house fire and has a tiny burn spot where a spark landed on it and singed the wool. Most of the blocks were made by my sisters and myself. I had intended my cousins to help, but they didn't 'get' the idea of doing a memory quilt for my grandmother.

My grandmother was the hit of the family for months afterwards. The relatives all had to come see her quilt, the church asked her to bring it in to display during a Sunday service (wish I could have been there) and the ladies at her quilt group were thrilled. During our hospital visit, she told me that she has informed her children (my dad included) that this quilt is to come back to me now that she will be moving out of her house and into a long term care facility. Good thing I took her a new one to replace it.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Charles the Bold by Yves Beauchemin

I like this book. I have no profound reasons why. It is a well told story!!!

We meet Charles as the moment of his birth. We follow him through the next decade or so of his adventures and mis-adventures. All of them are believable and quite possible to have happened to one young boy. At times I wanted to take Charles and give him the heartfelt hugs that he so needed.

Perhaps the story appeals to my mothering instincts?

There is a follow-up to the book, "The Years of Fire: Charles the Bold, Volume 2" due out in March 2008.

Nominee for the 2007 Evergreen Book Awards.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Dream Wheels by Richard Wagamese

This book is a nominee for the 2007 Evergreen Awards . If not for this list, I doubt I would have read it, and that would have been a shame. This is an excellent book. It delves into the world of competitive Rodeo.
Joe Willie Wolfchild has been riding since a child and is now permanently sidelined with some serious injuries, not all of them physical. Aiden Hartley, an inner city youth, is also hurting. Turns out they both have skills that the other is badly in need of.
With the aid of their respective families they help each other to heal and in my opinion to become 'stronger' people.
I enjoyed the discussions of the First Nation traditions and heritage. It reminds the reader, that at some point, all peoples were First Nations, we all came from aboriginal peoples. A very 'grounding' thought. One could read this as a light story, or could take more time and actually ponder some of the lessons that both Joe Willie and Aiden experience. I took the slower route!
The List for the 2008 Nominees has been released this past week. I hope i haven't missed voting for my 2007 favourite. I did read 5 of the 10 nominated books. Every one of them was an excellent choice.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Best Mate by Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo is one of the most consistantly good authors I have ever read, and in this book, he has not dissappointed.

Early on we are introduced to the fawn coloured grey hound puppy who becomes the main character of this delightful story. While he doesn't find the idyllic home life that I hoped for him, he does find human friends who are in the most need of him. First is Patrick who rescues the puppy, but in realitiy, its the puppy who rescues Patrick from the difficulties of adolescence. Then there is Becky, who's mother lives with a heartless dog racer. Becky runs away with the dog to save him, but again its the case of the dog who saves Becky and her mother. Finally we meet Joe, and he doesn't even realize that he is in need of help.

I enjoyed the adaptabilty of the dog, and how he knew what was needed in each situation. He gave strength to each owner as they needed it.

I would recommend this story to any who have had a dog that they loved deeply. You can't help but be moved by this dog and wish that he were yours.

I would further recommend other books by this author: "The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips" and "Alone on a Wide Wide Sea".

Airlines - Go figure???

My hubby is travelling today. He started the morning in San Francisco. He had a meeting schedualed in San Diego. With all the wild fires and considering that the host had to evacuate to a safer locale, his meeting was cancelled. So, he called United to re-arrange his flights. He had 3 flights for today. First to San Diego, then back to San Francisco, and then home to Toronto.

He was told there was approximately a $200. charge to cancel the first 2 flights. So he says why bother cancelling them, he'll just take his flight home. He was told that he couldn't take the third leg of his travel if he didn't take the first 2 legs. Ok, so he had to still pay for the first 2 flights, even though he wasn't taking them, plus pay the cancellation charge so he can come home. The flights were all the type you couldn't change.

So I checked just before posting this, and the morning flight to San Diego has officially been cancelled by United. hmm, guess he could have waited for the flight to be cancelled for him, but he still would have needed to fly back from San Diego to be allowed on the third flight. I don't know, but this sounds odd to me. Perhaps I'm missing some small detail...

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Oktoberfest 5k Race

Thats me in the bright orange shirt just crossing the finish line. My best time ever 37:31. If you could see my face, you would see the excitement of beating my anticipated time by 1 1/2 minutes. I am still thrilled.
This is the first time I have approached a 5k with the outlook of it being a 'race' as opposed to a fun run. This time I had a strategy beyond 'just finishing'. Of course I trained, but I also determined a reasonable target time. Then I went to the Running Room website and created a 'paceband' so I would know at what time I should be at each kilometre marker. I wrote this on a strip of tyvek and taped it around my wrist beside my watch. Wow, it made all the difference. I had a clear objective and was darned if a piece of paper was going to beat me. yippee, I beat that paper and by a wide margin. yippee again.

Click here to visit the Running Room website.
Click here to check the Running Series in my neck of the woods.

Friday, 12 October 2007

My Favourite Coffee Mug

This is my favourite coffee mug. Its not for tea, or lattes, not hot chocolate and not for chai. Just for coffee. I had to dig out of the cupboard today specially for my post run coffee. This isn't something I do often, but on cold windy days when my breath is literally grabbed away, I find that coffee helps.
Why this mug? I received it as a gift at a quilt retreat several years ago. It truly did come from Hawaii with a bag of Kona coffee. I thought I was in heaven for the next few weeks with my coffee treat (and I didn't share). I often think of Cheryl, who gave me the mug. I met her again the next year at the next retreat. She is one of those people who you meet and immediately know that she is going to be your friend. I haven't seen her in a few years now, but do think of her often and wonder what she's up to. Today I want to let the world know that I am sending good vibes to Cheryl Mott. Here's to you friend!!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

It's voting Day in Ontario

I was lined up just as the polls opened this morning. Fortunately the polling station was located in the gym at my daughter's school. I gather there were some new procedures, so it wasn't running quite smoothly. I'm sure the staff will get quicker as the morning proceeds.

Along with voting for a local representative, I also was able to vote in a referendum about electoral reform. This isn't something that happens very often. I hope the large percentage of my neighbours plan to vote today. (in fact there was a good line up behind me).

I'll be looking forward to the results this evening.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

This was a beautiful story. I am so happy that I read it. (I'm typing this as I wipe the tears from my eyes).
Lucky is a 10 year old girl who's mother died 2 years earlier and is now living with her Guardian (which happens to be her father's first wife). Lucky has been listening in on a variety of '12 Step' meetings and she is trying to find her 'Higher Power'.
Lucky hits 'Rock Bottom' when she thinks her Guardian is leaving her. She then gains inner strength as she finds her 'Higher Power' and also helps her small friend Miles deal with a problem he is having.
I would gladly recommend this book to others, even though some people have strongly and vocally objected to the mention of a dog's scrotum in the first chapters. See my blog entry of September 20.
I will be lending this to the librarian at my daughter's school, and hopefully she will buy a copy for the kids to read.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Cork Boat by John Pollack

I received this book a while back from a fellow Bookcrosser. It sounded intriguing. A boat built of corks.

I have to admit, that I am unable to throw out the corks that I pull from a wine bottle. They collect in my kitchen drawers. I have never done anything with them, though they do go to school for crafts occasionally.

The author of this book had been saving corks since he was a child. This book related the story of how his cork boat, comprised of more than 163000 corks came to be. It is funny, emotional, serious and factual. I don't think it was one thing that made me love this book, rather the combinations. Perhaps also the fact that while a teenager we had family friends that build boats. My dad was occasionally called to do mechanical work for them. It was interesting to watch the boats being built and later to see them in the ocean.

This book speaks to that bit hidden deep inside that always has wanted to do something way off in left field. John Pollack is one man who did not forget what he wanted and he did anything and everything to accomplish that goal.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Sunrise on Kusatsu Harbor by Dan Maloney

I received this book in the mail last week, and shoved aside a few others so that I could get at it right away. After reading a few pages, I knew that this was not the book to finish in one reading. Its not that its long, 137 pages, but it is a story that I wanted to savour and enjoy. There is a lot packed into the few pages and I didn't want to miss any of it.

Its the story of Tori and Mieko and it starts in the days prior to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While both our characters are profoundly affected by its outcome, its their responses that differ. Tori is filled with forgiveness and understanding and draws on her Christian faith to continue, while Mieko wants revenge.

The book follows the story of their lives for decades, until the day when Mieko is finally ready to enact his revenge.

Faith is a recurring strength in this book, it helps to heal the hurts that have occurred, both the physical and metal, but it also helps deal with the prejudices and mistrust.

I really enjoyed this story and appreciated its straight forward story telling style. I look forward to sharing it with my family, friends and my Bookcrossing friends.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Finishing Something started long ago

It always feels good to me to finish a project that was started long ago. This quilted wall hanging was started a few years back at a quilt retreat near London, Ontario. Its adapted from a pattern by Joan Barnett. It was supposed to be for a queen size bed, but I know my limitations and only ever intended to make a wall hanging. It measures 38 x 30 inches.
Its now resident in my hubby's work office.
I still have a bunch of other unfinished projects, not just quilts, but needlework, room painting etc that are awaiting completion. I really should get to them since I feel so good when they are complete. One step at a time. Currently I am stitching some applique for a quilt top that should be done for a class on October 13. Then its the quilting on a Hello Kitty theme quilt for my daughter and then...

Friday, 21 September 2007

1930's style of Blog

I wonder what the main character of the book "Clara Callan" by Richard B. Wright would think of todays blogs? This book is written in a letter format. There are letters from Clara, to her sister Nora as well as several others. Even though Clara doesn't take much with the technology new to the 1930's, I do suspect that she would be a blogger. She does like to write poetry.

There is something about this letter format that appeals to me very much. I had to force myself to put the book down so I wouldn't rush right through. I find it easy to immerse myself in the character's life. Its as though I have become that person. In my opinion that makes the author very successful.

The author of this book is from St. Catharines, Ontario, which by the way is my home town (though I haven't lived there full time since 1981).

If you would like to read about this book, please check the link below:

I borrowed the picture from the Chapters website.

Thanks to my friend Patricia for the loan of the book.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Book Banning Should be Banned

Yesterday my daughter brought home the books that we had ordered from Scholastic the previous week.

She brought a nice hardcover chapter book called, 'The Highter Power of Lucky" by Susan Patron. I heard about it on the Bookcrossing website. Seems, that some parents, teachers and librarians are upset that the word scrotum occurs on the first page of the book.

If you want to read an article in the New York Times, please check the following link:

Whats the issue? Half the population of the world has a scrotum.

After reading about this book I decided that I would have to purchase it when the opportunity arose. When daughter brought home her book order form 2 weeks ago, there it was. Now its in my possession and I can't wait to read it and then share with all sorts of friends who specifically search out and read 'banned books'.

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Dead Water Heater

My son called me to the basement in a panic yesterday afternoon. There was a growing puddle on the floor in the furnace room. Eeks, the water heater was leaking. It took a bunch of time to clean up, but found that it didn't do much damage. yippee. yes, the water leaked under the wall to the next room, but there were only paint cans on the floor. And neither room is 'finished' so the wall board was high enough from the floor not to soak up the water.

It seems that the building codes changed August first in Ontario. The exhaust pipe for the gas water heater now has to be a 'white' pipe instead of the old black pipe. So, to replace the gas water heater with the same type heater would involve replacing the whole length of this exhaust pipe at the homeowners expense. eeks. One of those un-expected expenses. As it turns out, when the tech was removing the old water heater, he barely nudged the black pipe and it broke off in his hand. Perhaps there is something wrong about this black pipe!!!

The result is that we are installing a tankless, electric water heater. It does not store hot water, rather heats it to demand. Best of all, we should never run out of hot water. Its a tiny unit and mounts on the wall. Even better, we don't need to change the black pipe to white pipe, since we don't need an exhaust.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Eating before Running

Yesterday was a bad run. I covered the 6k that I wanted, but it wasn't fun by any means. Too much time off since my last significant run. Further to that, I found that my breakfast of instant peach oatmeal just didn't work. ugh!

I have tried a variety of pre-run foods. Milk has to be cut from my diet as it meant too many pit stops (that proves almost impossible in rural areas). Toast with a wee bit of peanut butter or cheese is acceptable. My running partner declares that V8 cocktail will never be repeated. Half of a Power bar seems to work. I stay away from drinks other than water, which I bring on every run no matter how short or how cold. A bit of Gatorade powder in the winter keeps it from freezing.

I suspect that there is no prefect answer and that I will keeping sampling various items until I come up with a few more possibilities. Tomorrow I'll try a slice of whole grain toast with a bit of strawberry jam.

Friday, 7 September 2007

A Sense of Humour

My sister recommended a book to me, 'Sammy's Hill' by Kristin Gore, saying that it was really funny. So, I finally requested it from the library and waited with anticipation for it to arrive. I am reading it, on page 159 of 387, but I don't really find it funny. There are tiny little bits where I chuckle, but can't say I've had a laugh out loud, or roll on the floor moment.

I do admit that this isn't the first time that I haven't found a supposedly funny book not funny. I read one by Sophie Kinsella and again, didn't find it funny or even witty. Now, don't get me wrong, I do find some books funny, in fact so funny that I would fall down laughing if I weren't already sitting and reading.

Perhaps I am taking these books too seriously? Reading at this point is for my leisure, I really shouldn't take it so seriously. Its time to have fun. Its not as though I finish reading and then set down and write an in-depth book review and submit it for marking/grading.

Hopefully my next choice of books will be a little lighter, I've picked it from the blog written by one of my Bookcrossing friends:

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Mrs. Taft's Choice

Today is a sewing day. I am a moderator on a Canadian quilting list and I host the monthly block of the month program. This month the block is called 'Mrs. Taft's Choice'. its from a website called Quilters Cache. I thought that the name sounded familiar (in an historical manner), so I checked it out. Seems the block was designed to honour Mrs. Helen Taft, the wife of the 27th President of the United States.
It was a pleasure to sew this block and even better to find out the historical significance.
I feel good knowing that many of these 'old' quilt blocks are being preserved and that they are being introduced to newer quilters. It keeps our history alive. I would like to find some blocks that have been designed by Canadians.
There are some of current vintage that represent the RCMP, but I am unaware of any with an historical perspective. They must be around, but where???

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

First Day of School

Between my husband myself, we successfully got the kids off to their respective schools. Son was starting high school today and daughter is entering grade 6. I am sure there was more anxiety on our parts than with the kids.

Found out this morning that a provincial election has been called for October 10. somehow I missed that totally. Prehaps I was on vacation. We are part of a newly established riding. The Liberal Canadiate came and rang my bell. It was good to meet her and I found out that she is an almost neighbour, lives at the other side of my small community.

Finished my previous book by Robert Heinlein and have started one by Jeffery Deaver called 'Speaking in Tongues'. I found it at a Bookcrossing meeting in the next town. Its been sitting a bit so thought it was time to read and release. Here's the link for it:
I'm still too early into it to have an opinion on how captivating a read it will be, but I do trust Christa's choice of books (she's the BC member who released this book) and she hasn't led me wrong before.

Monday, 3 September 2007

I dream of Running

I started running almost 3 years ago. Didn't know if I could do it after being a couch slug for so many years. But health required that I do something. My blood pressure had been creeping upward and it had finally hit a serious point.

It amazing what our bodies can do if given the chance. Yes, I have lost weight, but I have also gained muscle. Didn't know that I could have shapely calves. Thought they would always be large and chunky. I won't say they are slim, but they are definitely more linear and with some definite curves of the kind I want to have.

i have taken a few classes at the Running Room and have amazed myself each time. Specially the day the instructor sneaked in a 13k run, when she told us it would be 11k. It was a blast.

I suspect that my family think I am exaggerating when I tell them I get a kick out of it. But its true. Don't think that I get that 'runner high' that I've heard rumour of, but then again...

This summer I volunteered for a terrific set of challenging races. Its called the Endurrun. 160 km over 7 races/8 days. Wow. Truly inspirational athletes, and these are not professionals. Check out the link and see what I mean. Now to get over my ailment (cold/virus) and back to those new Hurricane 9s that are waiting for me.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

My First Post

I have to admit, that I love books. Reading them, sharing them, giving them away, and probably most of all buying them. Right now, there are hundreds in my house, and hubby is about to start tossing them out the door. Eeks. I do try and give away as many as I bring home, but thats not always possible. This week i did send 6 of them off to new homes. I hope their new owners enjoy reading them. I didn't read any of them myself, but they were in reasonably good shape and I had no reason to suspect that they would not be good reads.

Today I started a book from my sister. It had been sitting in her bathroom for months, and everytime I 'visited' it attracted me. Finally I have opened the cover and find that it promises to provide great entertainment. It is 'Glory Road' by Robert A. Heinlein. Its in the 300 page neighbourhood, so it won't take long.

bye for now, and back to my novel.