Gotcha Day!

It’s Ava’s fifth “gotcha” day.  She had just turned 7 when she came to us. Now she’s 12 and has lost a lot of her dark muzzle and brindles.

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She has slowed down and likes sleeping in the sun on her couch, but still comes running when she hears the cookie cupboard door open!

Garter Stitch Hat

I love how this turned out!  It will be really warm and cosy.

simple garter stitch toque

I love my pompon maker – it does a great job!  Ravelry project page is here.  I had started this with a 96 stitch cast on, but as it has no ribbing, it was way too big for me.  I ripped it out and then did an 80 stitch cast on.  I messed up the decreases as I wanted to decrease over six points (my preference) but instead I ended up decreasing over five.  I like how it turned out, regardless.

The matching mittens were done a few days ago.  Also turned out great.

Supermodel Ava

Ravelry project page is here.  I have a few more new hat patterns I want to try, but I’ll get back to making some mittens soon.

thumbs up for mittens!

While browsing Pinterest I came across an interesting looking recipe for a breakfast quiche.  It had pepperoni and pizza sauce, so not exactly “clean” eating.  I printed it off to give it a try.  After reading it, I realized it wasn’t really any different (other than pizza theme) than other recipes I’ve tried.  Still good.

breakfast quiche, no pepperoni

The recipe is here.  I increased it to 12 eggs, omitted the pepperoni and pizza sauce.  I added natural/no preservatives black forest ham and used fresh red peppers instead of canned.  That illustrates one of my hugest peeves with Pinterest.  People throw around the term “paleo” with no concept as to what it means.  I can assure you, pepperoni is NOT paleo.  While I do not follow a strict paleo diet, I do try to make clean eating choices and avoid processed foods.  What I made is delicious and healthy.  (And note to self:  that baking pan worked perfectly.  Remember for next time.)

Learning new things

I signed up for the Olympic lifting class last night.  Once a week my gym offers a class specifically programmed for working on Olympic lifting skills.  I had already signed up for the regular 7 p.m. class, but I wanted to give the Oly class a try. (And then did the regular class after – ugh.)

I learned a new (to me) lift called the split jerk.  I had never tried this before, and I love it!  It’s quite a quick, forceful movement.  I got up to 90 pounds, which is the heaviest I have ever had overhead.  After we were finished, I realized that I was using the wrong (for me) leg as my forward leg.  I did a few extra rounds with my left leg forward and it felt much more stable and strong.  I’ll look forward to doing this lift again.

We are now very much into normal winter weather.  We had a fair amount of snow fall over night and during the day.  Good call on my (new) winter tires on my car.  On my drive to Crossfit last night, I encountered an accident caused by people driving much too fast for the road conditions.  Dumbasses.

I haven’t had a lot of time to knit on my latest hat.  I’d like to finish it tomorrow.  In order to up my hat game, I used a coupon at Michael’s today and got this:

pom pom maker!

pom pom maker!

(I thought they were called pom poNs …)  I tried all the various cardboard methods and my pom pons were crap.

"This is bullshit!!"

. “This is bullshit!!”

Ava is not impressed that it takes longer to get her dressed to go out than she actually spends in the yard.  Poor old lady.  The boys love playing in the snow, but she does not.

always with the good intentions!

Ha, I always think, “oh, I should do a blog post” … and then three weeks go by.

Things have settled down a bit here.  The after-shocks of the demise of our derby league have subsided.  I and my fellow ref have joined the league in Saskatoon and have been taking turns driving down for practices.  It’s very nice to have a full reffing crew to learn from/with and to discuss scenarios and rule interpretations.  I also went down to a boot camp they hosted last weekend and helped out during the scrimmage.  The derby season is gearing up for the province and I have several dates already booked, and several tentative ones that I haven’t committed to yet.  While I truly miss our own league and the fantastic chemistry we had, I don’t miss spending several hours a week working on board and league business.  It’s nice to just show up and skate.  And now I have time to pour over the rule book and watch footage on tv.

I managed to finish a pair of socks.  I had originally started these using the two-socks-on-one-set-of-dpns (double knitting, one sock inside the other).  I had tried that a few years ago, but found it too stressful.  Well … it was still stressful and not relaxing.  So instead of keeping going and being anxious about it, simply to have what equates to a knitting party trick (the second sock inside), I split them onto two separate sets of double points and carried on.

I had started with two separate colours of yarn so I could see easily which was the inside sock vs the outside.  But after splitting them onto their own set of dpns, I realized I would have to knit a second pair of socks when I was done these.  Instead I swapped yarn after I turned the heel.  They are fraternal socks, not identical.

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Sweet Georgia Yarn “Tough Love” sock yarn  

The colourways are Black Plum and Nightshade.  Such lovely tonal colours!  Ravelry project page is here.

I have some really cute and interesting sweater patterns that I want to try; they call for DK weight yarn.  I need to see what I have in that weight.  I’ve been working on minimizing our house/possessions/STUFF and that included my yarn.  I had some storage bins in the basement that had really not been touched since we moved here over six years ago, so I pulled it all out, sorted it according to people who expressed interest in it, and cleared a lot of it out.  What I have left is recently purchased yarns and/or yarns that I really loved and wanted to use.

For now, I cast on for a sock yarn hat using the leftover yarns from the socks.  I’m working a Fibonacci striping sequence; that’s interesting!

“The Fibonacci sequence – also known as the golden ratio.  It’s a pattern of numbers that occurs naturally in nature and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The numbers give perfect proportion and will produce interesting stripes.

1 + 2 = 3

2 + 3 = 5

3 + 5 = 8

5 + 8 = 13

8 + 13 = 21

The sequence: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, etc.

Each number in this series equals the sum of the two previous numbers.”

I will post a photo once I have made more progress.  It’s looking good so far.  So until I figure out what my next “big” project will be, I’ll use up some of my sock yarn making socks and hats.  Maybe mittens.  Who knows!

The poopers are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring.

"when will it be warm"

“when will it be warm”

Ava doesn’t care because she doesn’t like being outside, but the boys are getting antsy for long walks along the river bank and playing chase in the yard.  Chopper has a cut on his toe from the sharp ice in the yard.  The past few days have been melting and messy, but it’s only early March, so we’re not fooled that spring is actually on its way.

Oh, it's not so bad, after all.

Oh, it’s not so bad, after all.

Yesterday we bought a twin sized 6″ foam mattress to put in the living room to replace two old dog beds.  Chopper stretched out on it all night, but Rufie was leery of it and didn’t want anything to do with it.  But this morning, he gave it a try.

Great pattern!

My Crossfit asked me to donate something for a door price at our all-day “five WODs in five hours” event that is happening later in the month.  I looked at some of my favourite hat patterns, then started a hat.  I worked on it for a few days, but wasn’t feeling it.  I ripped it out and saw this great pattern on Pinterest.  I tracked it back to Ravelry and decided to make this instead.  The Howlcat.

the “howlcat” (cowl, hat …)

It is basically a Buff type article – one long tube that you can configure to wear in different ways.  The grey ribbing is knit with worsted weight yarn and the red part is sock/fingering weight yarn, knit in stocking stitch.  I am really pleased with how this turned out and am already thinking of new colour/yarn combinations.

Reffed a double header in Saskatoon on Saturday night last week, then last night I reffed a rec scrimmage.  It was a lot of fun.  Derby is winding down in the province for the winter.  We have a couple more skates/practices before the middle of the month, then we’re not back until January when we’ll concentrate on our “learn to skate” program.  Then derby gears up again in February for the 2015 season.

So I will be concentrating more on my Crossfit.  I am spending the month of December focusing on improving my hip mobility to help with my technique.  It’s improved from when I first started Crossfit, and in the summer I worked on it, but I need to be consistent with it.  And working more on intermediate level WODs and movements.

The poopers are enjoying a bit warmer temps we had this week:

resting up for a nap later

but Ava still needs her jammies at night

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One month in …

I was startled to realize yesterday was November 25.  My fourth week of ‘retirement’.  The first week or so it was quite unusual to realize that I didn’t have to think about work files, how to manage my time, or what would be awaiting me when I went back to work, etc.

Over the past year, I’ve had a lot of things that I wanted to get done around the house – organizational stuff, mostly – that I had put off because I had other ways of spending my limited free time.  Moving every five years over the last 30 years has certainly kept any hoarding/pack-ratting at bay, but we’ve been in our current house six years now, and things needed to be sorted and cleared out.  I kept telling myself I’d get to it when I was done work.

So when I was done work, I tried to do ALL the clearing, all at once.  That was no fun.  It’s going to be a process and I’m just going to pick away at it, bit by bit.  I want to still have time to knit and exercise and enjoy being retired.

After a late start to our winter (first “real” lasting snow fell this past weekend), today it was -35°C when I checked at about 10 this morning.

Ava’s ears have disappeared!

Definitely jammie time for Ava.  The boys are too manly to wear them.  Although, they also seem to stay quite warm during the night, whereas Ava gets quite cold and curls up into the smallest ball.  With her jammies on, when I check her during the night her ears are toasty warm and she’s sleeping comfortably.

I’ve been working on some hats, but I didn’t like either a) the pattern, or b) the yarn, so they got ripped out.  I spent some time the other day going through the huge stack of patterns I’d printed off in the past year and organized them, put them in my pattern binders and rediscovered some really cute sweaters, hats and sock designs.  I also want to make myself a new pair of mittens.

Ande and I again put together an audition video for The Amazing Race Canada – Season 3.  I think this is our best video yet and hopefully they will agree!

90 minutes of Skype; had to edit it down to 3 minutes

I’ve also been trying some recipes that I’d collected.  I also had a stack of printed recipes (mostly Paleo/clean) that I wanted to try, when I had time.  I’ve made this one twice in the past month:

Paleo Beef Spare Ribs

The veggies are carrots and parsnips and onion.  The parsnips don’t have a strong flavour, as I thought they might.  After being in the crock pot all day, they are quite mild and tasty.  This will become a staple in our winter kitchen.

I also tried this Paleo Shepherd’s Pie (cottage pie?  which one is which?)  I used clean ingredients and it was delicious.  I have made this one twice, also.  The white fleshed sweet potatoes are better than the  orange.  The second time I made it, I couldn’t find the white, so we used the orange.  A little sweet for my taste.  Still delicious dish, though!

with the white-fleshed sweet potatoes

I have spent the past two days moving into a new laptop.  My old one (almost two years old) had served me well, but being used 12+ hours a day really wore it out.  I have two external hard drives with backed up data that I also am going through to put only the relevant information on the new laptop.  I will keep the ext hdd’s intact, so if I need something, it will be there.

But I would like to get back to my knitting!

I’ve done a bit of reffing in the past month.  Have a triple header this Saturday, then a single scrimmage on Dec 6th, then that’s probably it for a while, other than practices.  Derby in Saskatchewan takes December and January off.  We still skate to keep working on our skills, though.

It’s officially official!

Friday was my last day of work … ever!  I had told my boss in July that when my contract came up for renewal at the end of October that I was going to be taking “retirement” and not renewing.  We did a lot of good work in the 4 years I worked with him.  It was always hectic, various levels of stress, and sometimes frustrating, but I feel good with my work.  I had a week to work with my successor and feel confident handing over the reins to her.

So now what?  I have a lot of chores and things I want to do around the house.  Things that I neglected and just didn’t have time for, then put off with the rationale,”oh, I’ll do that after I’m done work in November”.  Ha. Of course I have a list, so I’ll just get organized and start picking away at it.

I do intend to do more knitting.  A lot more knitting than in the past couple of years.  I’ve made a couple of sock yarn hats since we’ve been back from vacation and I’m still working on a crochet market bag.  I found some really nice sweater patterns and have yarn for those, so I’ll have plenty of projects from which to choose.

I’ve been busy reffing derby both before we went on vacation and since we’ve been back.  On Saturday night, the three games I reffed brought my 2014 total up to 30.  And I have a handful more before the end of the year.

Most of the derby games in Saskatchewan are recorded and televised.  LOL, this (from last Saturday) still makes me laugh and laugh:

Ref face on.  And “no, nope, no, nope”.  My derby name isn’t “Cranky Busterchops” for nothing.  That was during the third game of the day/night.

The weather has (up until this morning) been quite unseasonably warm and no snow.  We’ve had the poopers out for walks on the river path.  Today we are under a snowfall warning – right now it’s just cold drizzle, but expected to turn to snow in the evening hours/overnight.

gah, the sun’s at an awkward angle

I did find one photo on Bill’s phone from our visit in Kelowna.  This was his grandson’s 10th birthday supper at Denny’s (where else?)

Happy birthday!

After three weeks away, it was good (and awful) to get back to crossfit after vacation.  I had good intentions of doing lots of body weight work, stretching, etc. while we were gone, but we just were always doing something else.  Doesn’t hurt to have a complete break from it, but wow, did I feel it when I got back to it.  Happily settled back into my routine.  Our crossfit has also added some mobility classes (concentrated and targeted stretching sessions) so I’m trying to go to those as well.

And back to derby as well.  I’ve been very active reffing this year but our home league has been quiet.  They like to take the summer off from practices (although many of us do trail skates, etc.) and now it’s hard to get people back and interested again.  We are likely looking at a rebuilding year.  We are again starting a “learn to skate” program to try to get people interested.

We got some new skates from Rollergirl.ca to have gear on hand for people to try out:

I love those blue suede skates!

Bill and I were talking yesterday and we’re going to get our ice skates sharpened and try to do that this winter, as well.

Next time I will have some knit content!

Ava and her nose.

Well, we made it back home!

Three weeks of being on the road, and there’s nothing so nice as to sleep in one’s own (king sized) bed.

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finally, Ava says, I’m being treated as the Queen I am.

We left Vancouver Island and hopped on one of the new ferries (Coastal Renaissance) back to Vancouver.

We were on the lower deck

We were on the lower deck; like we were in a shipping container!

It had a great gift shop, though – found a fabulous Fall coat!

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Steveston, south of Richmond. Cute little village – historic for fishing, canning factories.

We got to spend some quality time with Ande; had a great supper our first night at Jackalope’s.  The brisket was unbelievable.

selfie time!

selfie time!

She and I had a fun girls’ day on Saturday.  We hit up John Fluevog store, of course.  Our favourite Fluevogologist Allan was ever so helpful.  At my count we tried on 18 or so pairs of shoes/boots.  Three pairs came home with me.

These are amazingly cute and comfy demi-boots, the Alana.

These are amazingly cute and comfy demi-boots, the Alana.  I bought skinny jeans to wear with them.

The other two pairs were another pair of demi-boots, but with a finer/dressier heel, and a cute pair of lace up flats.  We had Five Guys for lunch, then more shopping, more eating.  It was fabulous.  I’m sorry we don’t live closer together.

Chopper finally figured out how to relax on this, his first vacation.

Chopper finally figured out how to relax on this, his first vacation.

We spent three nights in Kelowna visiting the boys (I didn’t take any photos, but I think Bill has some on his phone – I’ll check tomorrow).  I did do some work on my vacation, but only to make sure I didn’t drown under the onslaught of email upon my return.

By that time, we were all ready to head home:

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one more night until we sleep in our own bed!

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Rufie does his “Joey Tribiani” impression. “how YOU doin’?!”

And in the three weeks we were gone, I only knit a very little bit.  The weather was great, so we did lots of walking and exploring in the van.  I went to some favourite yarn stores and stocked up on sock yarn and some yarns for a few sweaters I’d like to make over the winter.

So now it’s back to work until October 31.  I went back to Crossfit last night, then did derby skating for two hours.  And went back to Crossfit this evening.  My quads are so sore.  Having a complete break from everything for three weeks was great, but coming back is a little painful.