Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl...

Well I have been taking my knitting classes and while I understand the basics of how to knit and purl, I still struggle. I am one of the frequent people who show up outside of class to show the instructor what I have done. Often this is in an attempt to help me figure out where I have once again gone wrong. Despite this struggle and frustration, I am really liking knitting, to the point of staying up late so I can finish one more row. As many of my friends would point is a sickness. I'm off to indulge....

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Out in my neck of the woods we have finally finished with snow, and it appears the rain is also finally subsiding. There are a few places that are still under flood watch, and parts of Chilliwack are flooded, but thankfully no loss of human life. Still it is cold, and I have signed up for Crunchy Chicken's "Freeze Yer Buns Challenge". I've been spending a lot of time under the blankets in an effort to keep warm. And because I am under the blankets, there has been a lot of time reading, or surfing the net.

I have signed up for another challenge, a science reading challenge. I already belong to a local book club. I joined a club not only for the social aspect, but also to challenge myself to read books that I might not normally choose to read. With this in mind, I decided that I would not review books for the science challenge, that I have already read or would normally read. In other words no books about sustainability, climate change, peak oil, etc. I want to read about aspects of science that I might not otherwise have chosen. I think a starting place might be female scientists. I done a bit of looking, but I have not decided which books I am going to choose. I do hope lots of people sign up for the Science Book Challenge 2009. Hopefully this link works out (I admit I still have not been able to figure out what I am doing wrong when it comes to linking), however if it does not please google them.

On the home front I have indeed signed up for the knitting classes. When I first inquired about the classes I explained that I am a complete novice, I know nothing. I believe I said something to the effect of... "see all this stuff, to me it is a bunch of yarn and some pointy sticks." I showed up and signed up. The lovely woman then informs me that for this class, which again is for beginners, I have to know how to knit and purl. I then shoot her one of my 'are you kidding me' looks and once again explain that I am looking for the "I have no idea how to knit class" as I do not know how to knit. After a bit of an Abbott and Costello routine, she, thankfully offers to teach me how to knit and purl (by the way, these are two very basic stitches). So I have pre-classes if you will.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Resolutions for the new year

It is the new year and that usually means resolutions. Yes, I said it...resolutions. Many of the blogs I read, note their resolutions for the year. In a number of cases these are the same resolutions that many make, weight loss, exercising more, saving money, etc., however there are a few that are less than popular, these include expanding the garden, preparing for life change, building an addition to the home, and getting a pet. These resolutions are meant to bring about positive change, which is a good thing. Except that, it seems many do not keep their resolutions. Statistics seem to vary as to exactly how many people achieve their stated goal(s), the vast majority do not seem to make it. I wish I could remember where I read it, but it was 92% of North Americans did not keep their resolutions. This number increases as time progresses.

For myself I tend not to make resolutions, but as I am getting older there are a number of things that I wish to accomplish and unless I have a deadline or some level of accountability, it will not get done. I can procrastinate with the best of them. I am guessing that I am not the only one. So here it goes, what I hope to accomplish this year. I will keep everyone updated (really this is just a handful of people who actually read this blog).

1. Like a number of people I wish to lose some excess weight. I have a specific number, but I am not ready to divulge that right now. Suffice it to say it is a reasonable amount. My main reason for losing weight, I am getting older and I am noticing a number of changes in my body that are aging me prematurely. I want to be healthier, I want to get off of my blood pressure medication, I want to increase my energy. In short as we say in the biz..."I want to live to bleed the pension dry." Although I am not prepared to let you know the numbers I will let you know how I am doing with this goal.

2. Continuing on with my health, I wish to increase my exercise. By the end of the year I want to be consistently walking at least 1 hour five time per week. Right now I tend to be a bit of a couch potato and part of my achieving goal number 1, will have to include an increase in exercise for me. This is not something I enjoy doing, but it must be done. Why am I focusing on walking versus another type of exercise...simple, it is something that I can do any time and does not require special equipment. Also when I was in university I used to walk with a walkman for hours at night while I composed my essays in my head prior to writing/typing them out. I really enjoyed this; it was nothing for me to walk for 2 to 3 hours just listening to music. I no longer have a walkman, but I do have an MP3 Player, thus I figure that I am set. No excuses.

3. Another common goal is to work on my finances. A few years ago I bought my place (condo) and this dramatically increased my monthly shelter payment. I have gone through my savings and really need to reorganize my finances, especially if I am to weather this recession. Thus my financial goal is to start saving money. I am going to start with a very small amount, $50 per pay cheque. Hopefully this will increase my chances of success. If I find that this is something that I find is not an issue, I may increase the amount, but for now it is $50.

4. And yet another common goal is to organize myself; at least somewhat. I have never been the most organized person on the planet, and quite frankly I am not going to pretend that I am now going to be organized. However I would like to compliment goal number 3 and organize my bills and financial correspondence.

5. I spent a lot of time last year working on canning and food preservation and I wish to continue this. This year, in addition to canning and freezing food, I am going to attempt dehydration. Not only does this activity ensure that I have food throughout the winter and early spring, it also works with my DIY attitude for life.

6. Speaking of DIY, I also plan to learn how to knit and/or crochet. I have been trying to learn on my own with books from the library without much success. I have found a knitting class in town and on Monday I will give them my money for the classes. It is 28 weeks and is $175 for the instruction only. There is a book that I will also have to purchase and of course my wool/yarn and needles. By the end of the course I hope that I can at least knit a cute little hat or something.

7. Finally, I wish to consistently post on this blog as this will provide some measure of accountability. It is my hope that I will post at least once per week.

Although fairly standard, these are a few of the things I hope to accomplish this year. This does not mean that I plan on doing nothing else, just that I want to ensure that I maintain a focus on these issues. Hopefully all of us will be able to maintain the resolutions or goals we are aspiring to.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Let her eat cake

I like to make things, especially my own food. I believe that it is quickly becoming a lost art. Also making my own food is a lot cheaper than eating out all the time, and in these times frugality is the new black.

As anyone who reads this knows I can, freeze or otherwise preserve food during the summer and fall, with varying degrees of success. Part of this is because I am new to this skill, but the other part is because I try to preserve things in small quantities. For example my friend who cans tomatoes, does so in 1 litre jars, my tomatoes are canned in 500 ml jars. I tend not to need a litre of canned tomatoes. This need to make things smaller extends to most of my food.

Most recipes are far too much for one person, thus I am usually on the look for good recipes that are for 1 or 2 people. I have found some cookbooks that I regularly use and through trial and error (usually a lot of error) I have modified a number of my favorite recipes. Most meal type recipes tend to make 4 servings. In general I find that these are the easiest recipes to half. Yes there are some recipes that I make the entire amount, chili is one, but this is because I freeze the unused portions and later have them for lunch at work.

However I find making a couple of cookies or one portion of cake, or even just a bit of bread to be much more difficult. I have found that you cannot just half baking recipes. The few times I have done this have not been pretty or tasty. So when I want a cookie or two, or some cake I usually go to the baker and buy something. Really this can get expensive and while individual cookies are easy enough to get, but 1 piece of cake can present some problems. Yes I could go to Safeway, but then what do I do with the plastic clam shell. As to making a normal sized cake, again it is only me and I do not like having the leftovers in the house. Far too tempting.

However I have found a cookbook that is looking promising. Small Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos. I am not sure how things will turn out, but perhaps there is cake in my future. I'll let you know the results.

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's Snowing Again...

Again, I am such a bad blogger.

As I type it is once again snowing outside of my apartment. Yes it is picturesque, beautiful, serene, Christmasy if you will. But I am tired of it. I know I should not complain, I am Canadian and snow is a part of being Canadian. Furthermore, I do not have to shovel it anymore. I am sure most Canadian kids, and some adults, would agree that the person driving the snow plow dumping even more snow on the driveway is not the favorite. Thankfully I no longer have to shovel snow. I live in an apartment and this is taken care of strata.

Forecasts indicate that this will continue with the possibility of rain for a day or two, changing again to snow. In other words it is gonna get ugly. Thankfully, I have the next week off, and of course I have enough food to last me many months, let alone a week. There is entertainment, I do have the Internet, cable, books, and a thousand other things. But...I live alone, well not alone, there is George and Sweetie Pie, but they tend to sleep a lot, as cats do. I may be starting to feel some cabin fever. It has only been a few days, but I am missing just being around other people. Of course if you talk to me after having company for a week, I am sure my thoughts and feelings will be quite different.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shocking the Other Person

No, this post is not about me torturing someone, it is about perceptions. Last night I was chit chatting with a couple of friends, about the usual: books music, etc.. I do not remember exactly how we ended up taking about Black Flag and Henry Rollins, but we did. When I mentioned that I happened to like Henry Rollins and much of his work, one of my friends was stunned. He kept staring at me in utter disbelief, like somehow his understanding of basic logic was shattered. In response I kept asking why he was so shocked. Finally he admitted he was unable to reconcile his perception of me as a hippie environmentalist with this new information (these are my words not his...).

My friend's description of me as a "hippie environmentalist", is not something I disagree with. I think it describes a dominate aspect of my personality, I do not think that it describes my entire personality. Like everyone else I have many layers to my self and life, some of which may seem contradictory.

This is not to say that I have not experienced the exact same thing as my friend. I too have been surprised by a close friends, and in each case my surprise was due to my beliefs or perceptions. It is this perception of others that got me thinking, is it possible to have a relationship where you are not surprised by the other person because you know them so well. Personally, I'm not convinced that you can know a person that well, at least I do not seem to know anyone that well.

BTW- Sorry about the link not working. I'll keep working on this one.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Plodding along...

I figured that I would do a bit of an update about my little corner of the world.

In a few days once again I will be going to the polls, his time it is for a municipal election. Unlike the Federal election, I have no idea what any of the candidates are campaigning on or about. I do need to get my butt in gear and find out about everyone so that I can at least vote intelligently.

Work has been exceeding busy and while I am always grateful that I have steady and interesting employment, I am fearful that I am losing the work-life balance. This balance is something that is almost sacred to me. I do not wish to become an individual who either cannot or will not retire because they have nothing outside of work. Hence I ensure that my free time is spent on activities and thoughts that have nothing to do with work. Right now I am hopeful that soon work will go back to normal and I will again be able to get a decent night's sleep without the nagging worry about things that need to be done.

I signed out a couple of books from the library, in an effort to learn how to crochet and knit. This has not worked out so well and I am now looking for a class. Hopefully I will find one soon.

Not all is doom and gloom in my life. I had to take one of my kitties to the vet and after some dental work she is now in good health. There was some concern regarding a lump in her mouth, however the lump has been removed and she is back to her feisty self.

I have also been inspired by a friend of mine, and I am once again beginning to sew. So far I have started a simple nightshirt. I figure if it does not turn out exactly as I want no one need see it.