My Days and Anniversaries

Hi, out there! I’ve been a tad busy and somehow the days just flew by and here we are, a month on from my last post. This after I promised myself to do better . . . oh, well . . .

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Sometimes the cat knows best . . .

By the way, if you are curious about where I am living, go here:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.8829593,-120.7609463,7.3z?hl=en

That link should show you the bottom west part of British Columbia, with Vancouver (BC) in the lower left-hand corner and Salmon Arm near the top and east of Kamloops. That will give you the general idea. If you zoom out you can see where we are in relation to the entire province.

And this link is a close-up of our area:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@50.6861583,-119.2831572,10z?hl=en

We live just west of the words ‘Grandview Bench’ and slightly east of the 97B Highway.

And for comparison, this shows the size of our province compared to the UK:

UK-BC Map 01

. . . and where I live should be somewhere along the French coast north-west of Paris and south of London. (now that I think about it, I should live there!)

I thought I’d throw those in here because I’ve had numerous remarks from people who don’t know my province. The towns where I live or have lived are generally quite small and not shown on average maps.

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Hoarfrost on the trees in the mornings was lovelier than this photo can show . . .

Back to what I was saying . . . The days have been cold here, as you can see from the photo, especially the last couple of weeks, but with some nice bits, too. I’ve begun attending a couple of handwork groups in Enderby, a smaller town than Salmon Arm (also fairly small, though) and about 15 minutes drive south and eastish (Is eastish a word? Guess it is now!) from here. And now you can see where those towns are ūüôā

My cousin’s wife S and I were out shopping for Christmas and stopped in a lovely wee coffee shop in Enderby. It’s called Country Coffee House and it’s too bad all you lovely people live so far away . . . I bet you’d like it as much as I do. Awesome home-made soups and equally delicious latt√©s, too. A super-friendly owner/operator and so is the group of crocheters; they call themselves the Happy Hookers and they are, too. I’ve been twice so far and there has been a small baby both times, not in the group, but the mums are friends with the group members, so I got to see them close up. Hard to look and not touch sometimes.

I finally began using one of the balls of yarn I bought on Leka Island in Norway (I was quite disappointed because it was spun in China, of all places, so not actually the Norwegian yarn I’d hoped for. But I never had the chance to shop at an actual Norwegian wool yarn shop, and at least this carries the memories of the little convenience store on Leka and of my time there. I have begun a free-form cushion cover (free-form because I am making it up as I go along; I’ve already had to frog it a couple of times when it wasn’t working out the way I wanted. Price you pay for not following directions . . .) The right photo shows just a bit of the latt√© I was drinking as I worked. I felt so reminded of Cooper’s Cafe in Skipton, where I met with Lucy’s Knit n Natter group at the beginning of November.

So . . . when S and I stopped in that day in December, I saw the sign about the Happy Hookers and realized they meet the same day as the Sit n Knit group meets at the library, which is a very short block up the street. Crochet in the morning and Knitting in the afternoon! How lucky is that? So three weeks ago cousin M drove me to Enderby in the morning. I had a great time with the group, then had soup and a bun, and left, second latt√© in hand, in time to join the knitters at the library. I was first there that day, so got to sit in a wing-back chair right next to the electric fireplace!¬† I’ll have to take a photo of the fireplace and the chairs to share next time I go.

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I love wing-back chairs!

Members of both groups were SO friendly and welcoming! And the groups are open as to what one brings to work on, so I saw both knitting and crochet there, and I think there was a piece of cross-stitching at the knitting group.

My cousin was great about coming to pick me up again when the group was over. Both groups meet for about two hours each, so it makes for a good day out. And the cousins get a day at home without me. We get along fine, but I’m still a visitor . . .

Two weeks later, I spent the day in Enderby again and I’ll go next Tuesday, as well, barring blizzards and/or freezing weather. We’ve not had a real blizzard, but I got up today to a gentle snow falling and I think it’s still coming down . . . still, this winter will be very short compared to winters in Edmonton, and it’s been surprisingly warm for the season, with not much snow until after Christmas. I don’t mind, really. We will need the moisture in the ground this summer when we are back on forest-fire alert. Not looking forward to that, I can tell you!

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This was taken shortly before Christmas! Not the usual here; last year we had about six feet of snow over the winter. This year it only started in January, really.

In other Crafty News lately:

The black and white Did I mention that I bought fabric at some point in January? And then some more . . . no idea what got into me ūüôā

The photo in the bottom right corner is what I bought when I was first back here. I’d borrowed a book about making “Inchies” and felt inspired. Inchies are tiny quilts an inch on each side (2.5 cm for you youngsters). Then my cousins gave me a gift certificate for Fabricland for Christmas. And by then I’d borrowed another book, this one on making cloth bags, “The Bag Making Bible”. I fell in love with the bag on the cover, decided to buy fabric to make it, then fell in love with more . . . and the post-Christmas sales were on, from 70% off to “buy one metre, get two free”. The poppies on a dark background really wanted to go home with me and then I saw the black and white with poppies, ladybugs and more . . .

The black and white fabrics are actually going to become bags, but the first fabric I chose pulled at me to make it into a summer dress, and when I couldn’t find more of it in our store here, Cousin M drove me all the way back to Vernon (a half hour or so each way), where I bought the first length, so I could buy more. And while in the store the second time . . . I saw the same pattern, Queen Anne’s Lace, on a blue background (the first, in the larger photo above, has a background of deep red)! And I saw another lovely floral, too, the one on the left of the top small picture. I’ve had my eye open for large florals for some time now, and this is the first I’ve seen of any. The fabrics in the bottom right photo are likely to end up in bags.

I have my patterns traced and ready to use now. And the fabrics have all been ironed (I really, really love ironing, especially fabrics!) But I hit a snag when I tried to decide what dress pattern I wanted to use. At first I was thinking of one of my patterns from Sense & Sensibility, especially the Romantic jumper (see the link) or the Edwardian dress, but somehow I don’t see those as suited to large florals. But I did like the idea of making a sort of sundress that I could wear over a long-sleeved white blouse, partly because I bought a cotton blouse that I really like in Oslo while shopping with my cousin Tove and it would be perfect under a jumper. (In Canada a jumper is a sleeveless dress worn over a blouse, not what we call a sweater, which is a jumper in other countries).

Still in Crafty territory:

I don’t know if any of you will remember the Fair Isle style socks I started before I went away last spring. I was using the recommended size of needles and they were looking all right, with only a few errors in the patterns. (I started these before I had my cataracts fixed and actually thought that chocolate brown yarn was black!) Anyway . . . after reading what Dr. Snail recommended on her blog, The Snail of Happiness, where she said that using the smallest possible needles would result in a thicker, longer-wearing fabric, I decided to frog all five of my partly-completed socks. So far I have only found three of them and above you can see what they looked like and the beginning of wee balls of yarn after the frogging began . . .

I have begun another pair of socks, well, one sock so far, and am still working on the toe. This time I’m making another change: I’m using two strands even for the toe and heel, partly to keep the sock consistent in thickness but mostly to give me the extra cushioning. I love comfy socks, especially in the winter!

I’m so¬†glad I knitted some mitts for myself while I was in Yorkshire, too. I’ll share the story behind those in another post, though. They are wonderful to wear right now, but not quite as warm as I’d like, due to the fineness of the yarn. So I’m planning on making some larger ones to wear over them next year if we get another really cold spell . . .

The last photos today are of my trip up to Stirling, the campsite (with the blue tent I borrowed from my housemate of three days), my wee sheep companions¬† Flora and Anastasia seen here peeking out of my sandals, where they stowed away so they could see Runrig for themselves (another story that will have to wait) and a couple of shots from Friday and the first night’s concert. I have no photos of the Saturday at all. I’d misplaced my iphone (thought I’d lost it) and used only the camera. Those are among the photos I accidentally deleted in late September. I’ve been afraid to look at my iphone photos until today, worried I might not have any from the gig. So I’m quite happy to have these, at least.

Music is still a major part of my day, as you likely expect. Runrig are having the most fabulous “Poll of Polls” on Twitter right now. I missed the first couple of days, but have taken part every day since then. Each day they take the songs from one of their fourteen studio albums, divide them into three or four groups and have us vote for the one we like best in each group. The winners move up to Round Two and eventually we will know which song is the all-time favourite of Riggies around the world. It’s been lovely, revisiting the music itself and also remembering those two nights last August. It was exactly six months ago on the 17th and 18th of this month, only a couple of days ago. That was the first anniversary I had in mind when I began writing this post.

The others are what would have been my Mum’s 96th birthday tomorrow (Wednesday) and my Aunty’s 99th birthday on the following Sunday. It’s hard to believe they will have been gone three years and four years, respectively, this April. interesting that they were born four days apart and died two weeks apart. Bittersweet days, for sure, as I remember the companionship we shared for so long. I miss them both so much. April is also the first anniversary of my last Auntie’s death and she would have been 94 this coming May. I was lucky to have as much time with each of them as I did, though, and that is what I shall focus on this year.

Here’s a Canadian song for you, sung by Bruce Guthro of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, who was lead singer for Runrig for the past twenty years. He has a lovely voice and this is an old favourite song of mine in any case. Farewell to Nova Scotia

Another of my Canadian favourites: Lucille Starr (born in Manitoba, but grew up in BC. Quand le Soleil dit Bonjour aux Montagnes, also known as The French Song back then.

More Canadians:

Kate and Anna McGarrigle singing Dancer With Bruised Knees

One of Kashtin’s most beautiful songs, Ishkuess

And, of course, Buffy Sainte-Marie. This is No No Keshagesh  and

Darling, Don’t Cry

I’ll leave you with Judy Collins and Cook With Honey

And I’m off to listen to more Runrig and then vote . . .

All the best to each of you. See you soon!

Day 21: a very short post

Hi, my friends. Here is what I woke up to this morning:

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Cousin M and I went in to Salmon Arm, where I was able to do all my christmas shopping in a couple of hours. This is what we saw on the way there and back”

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When we got home, Cousin S had left me this before going off to work:

A lovely herbal tea with licorice and slippery elm bark, among other things. And some of the shortbreads I made yesterday. It made for a welcome break.

It’s been a very busy¬† day and is now almost midnight, so this will be short.

I did make the Hvite Pepperkake¬†dough and it’s in the fridge for overnight.

IMG_5831I translated the British weights to Canadian measures and am not convinced I got it right. I had to leave out two cups of flour. But it seems like the right texture and I guess I’ll find out tomorrow when I bake it.

While I was out, I bought myself a wee Christmas treat. The cousins don’t eat candy and I rarely do anymore, but at Christmas I always have some of this:

I had to eat some so the rest would fit into the container . . .

This is the last of my daily posts. I’m going to aim for weekly for a while, but we’ll ssee. I may post in between when there is something special to share.

A very happy Solstice to those of you who celebrate the return of the Light.  I shall be thinking of you  tomorrow. (today already, for some of you, anyway)

Thanks for hanging in with me during these three weeks. It’s been fun.

Now for some music:

Tshinanu by Kashtin. They are Canadian and I have loved their work for years. Don’t think they perform currently.

Merry Christmas, Everyone, Great Big Sea & Friends, Gift Of Giving Show¬† I love the message at the beginning of this and couldn’t have said it better.¬†

Another of my favourite Canadian groups,The Rankin Family singing We Rise Again. Too bad the audience noise is so loud; still, Raylene’s voice is amazing. And here is a different recording of that song, this time more clearly.

Peace and Harmony to you all . . .  ~ Linne

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Winter Solstice at Stonehenge 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago . . . and more . . .

Well, I meant to publish this a week or so back, but here goes anyway . . .

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The first time the Crafties took me to see their new property, back when the weather was still balmy, we stopped by the home of their daughter, son-in-law and their family. Here are a few pictures from that part of the trip:

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Below, some photos along the way to the Crafties’ property and some of the property itself:

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Afterwards, we drove to Thorhild, which is where my Mum and Dad were living in 1999, when I came up to help out while Dad was ill. I wanted to see the house we lived in and see if anything remained of my parents’ work on it. The lovely window boxes are gone, but the stained glass window upstairs at the back is still there. Originally there was a door leading to a very rickety wee balcony with equally rickety stairs down to the ground. Dad removed the balcony and stairs, then made a stained glass window to fill up the opening instead of the door. Behind that window is the room I stayed in while we were there. After my Dad passed away in September, Mum and I stayed on, resting and recuperating, until she sold the house the following spring and we moved into Edmonton to live in a rented house for a year. It was good to see the place again. I wish it were in Edmonton and we could have stayed in it . . . it had enough room for both of us and our various supplies and room for crafting, too, which is what my parents did when they weren’t renovating.

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Well, that was then . . . and the weather was still warm and balmy;

The container was finally¬†delivered on Monday, the 10th of November, but it wasn’t unloaded where we had planned. The driver and his helper told the Crafties that it was there (by the side of the driveway and only a few feet past the gate) or they would take it back to the yard and I would have to pay for that trip, too. Not much they could do. But, without telling me, Mrs. Crafty called her son and son-in-law (from the place with the donkey, etc.) and the two guys came out on Thursday with their four-wheel-drive pickup trucks and some military strapping. It apparently took a few hours and involved cutting logs to use as rollers under the container, but in the end, they got the job done. As my friends told me later, it didn’t hurt that the two young men are fairly competitive by nature and were determined to get the job done. Unfortunately, no one thought to take photos, so I can’t share the experience with you. Wish I had some, though . . .

On Thursday morning, I found out that Mum and my sister were no longer looking at houses, as all the affordable ones needed quite a lot of work and in some cases had mould and other serious problems. So now it was to be a condo . . . which meant instant re-arranging of plans for me, as now I was going to be taking as much as possible from the apartment where we live, as well as emptying out the storage downtown. So Thursday passed in a blur of bringing in a few boxes from the balcony, removing the protective plastic bags, then quickly sorting through in case there was something I really wanted to keep in town. It had to be done in stages to keep the cold from freezing the apartment too much. But I got quite a lot of it done. Not as much as I would have liked. By the end of the day, my left knee was acting up again from stepping over the high threshold and packing heavy boxes, so I dug out the elastic knee brace and put it on again. It kept me awake until after midnight, but that was alright; it gave me time to unwind a bit and to just breathe . . .

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The last bud on the Happy Hibiscus; it never opened, though. When we were getting ready for the ceiling re-do that never happened, it just quit opening. By the time I had all the plants in the bathtub for over a week, this wee bud just dried up and withered away. Next year, though. Since then, I’ve pruned the Happy Hibiscus back quite a bit and re-potted all the plants except Mum’s newest bonsai, which didn’t need it yet.

On Friday the 14th, I woke at 4:30 a.m. to see a strange greyness outside; it looked as though it were snowing heavily, although no snow had been forecast. As it turned out, it was fog, amazingly lovely. The temperature was about -21C and felt like -29C with the wind chill. Not my preferred moving weather. I was picked up by the Crafties at 7:30 and we went straight to the U-Haul place to get the truck. From there, we drove to their son’s place, where the son-in-law met us. Then it was off to the storage place, where one unit was emptied and another one’s contents were reduced by a significant amount. That second one holds some of Mum’s things, too, so those as well as my clay¬† pots and collapsible tables, were left behind.

From the storage, we headed up 97th Street to Mum’s place, the Crafty son driving the truck and the Crafties and I in their car. The son-in-law drove his own car, as they had to leave as soon as the unloading was completed. Did I mention that he had his sweet son, Master Z, with him? All ready for the cold with his wee Carhartt jacket and mini work boots. He didn’t mind the cold (his jacket was open the whole time; he did have on a fleece and more underneath) and did his best to help the whole time. Very impressive.

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Above are a few of the photos I took on the drive north. It was very magical to see the fog-rime on the bare trees and snow still on many of the evergreens. I took so many pictures, my phone died while we were out there. Some of them will make good studies for pen and ink drawings with just a hint of watercolour to liven them up, should I ever have time and space for art again . . .

By the time the Crafties and I arrived at the property, the U-Haul was backed up to the container’s open doors, the ramp was out and the back wall was stacked with boxes. From there we switched to stacking the boxes one layer deep along each side of the container. Next summer, I will go out for a day or maybe two at a time and start the long process of going through everything and disposing of most of it. I so wish that I lived close enough to you who inhabit this Virtual Village with me, so that I could share with you all. But, postage being what it is, photographs will have to do . . .

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From the property, the son-in-law and his son left for home, and the rest of us returned to Edmonton. I rode along with the Crafty son in the truck, for old time’s sake. I always loved driving the big U-Hauls, but my eyesight isn’t what it once was and I’m reluctant to drive until that’s fixed one day. Without asking me, the Crafties stopped and picked up sandwiches for our lunch at their son’s place. That done, we took the truck to re-fill the gas tank. In well over two hours of driving, we only used a half tank of gas, so that was pretty good. Just over $100 with the discount from Mr. Crafty’s card. Then we took the truck back and from there drove back to the Crafty home, arriving about 3:30 p.m., well before dark. The whole task, from loading the truck to being done with the unloading, took only just over two hours, plus the hour or so drive north. I was pretty impressed. By myself, or even with only the Crafties and me, it would have been more than twice that. In that cold, it would have been pretty arduous.

Did I mention that before we were done moving the boxes, it had begun to snow? Yep. Luckily, it was that fine, grainy stuff that doesn’t stick to anything. But I had to brush¬† it off the items like paintings that were stacked at the front of the moving van waiting to be shifted. We were so, so lucky, in spite of the cold. and it made the hot Chinese food at the end of the day so delicious . . .

The following Friday, Mum placed an offer on a ground-floor condo and it was accepted. Much rejoicing around here! Then, a few days later, the owners changed their minds. So back to searching. Mum has an offer in on another condo now, so I’ll let you know how that goes. I liked the idea of the first place because it was about three blocks from a large mall, on the grocery store side and that mall has a small branch of the library. Also the bus stops at the back of the mall include ones for buses going downtown, which would have been pretty convenient for me. Oh, well, this or something better, as they say . . .

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That’s right, my friends! I have not been idle! These are the Bavarians for my grandkidlets . . . The dark rose for the eldest of the three youngest girls, the medium rose for the next youngest and the pale rose for the wee girl born this past September.

The lighter green-blue is for the younger of the two boys and the darker one (nearly finished; I have four rows and the edging still to do) is for the elder boy.

I have two others for that family still to finish; one more multi-coloured for the eldest grand-daughter, who is now 15 and a half and a large one, also multi-coloured, for their parents. Oh, yes, and the Violets in the Snow afghan still needs a few more rows . . . and then there are two young lads and a wee lassie that I have in mind . . .

These go surprisingly fast, at least when you have up to six hours a day to sit and do nothing but crochet ūüôā¬† These child-size afghans take two balls each of Red Heart acrylic (more washable); one of white and one of a colour. I’m not sure how many balls I’ve used on the two large afghans. And the small ones I can do in two weeks, most of the work in the first week. I truly love this pattern and I can’t thank Dani of the Teddy and Tottie blog enough. If I ever get to meet her, Dani will be showered with hugs and chocolate and maybe wine . . . ūüôā

Ok, there’s more, but I have to leave something for another day, don’t I?

Hugs to everyone in the Virtual Village . . . and comments will be replied to soon. I apologize for not keeping up, but it’s been a tad busy around here . . . and I haven’t dropped in on as many of you as I like to do, or left comments when I did come by.

I’m so looking forward to life just settling down and living in ‘Normal’ again . . . (thanks, Robbie, for letting me know there’s an actual town named Normal. I may have to emigrate . . .)

I nearly forgot . . . here’s a song for anyone who shares some of my musical tastes:

Grey, Foggy Day  Shanneygannock are a group from Newfoundland and I love their work. A co-worker who grew up with a couple of the members introduced me to their music. Folkie, but you know me . . .

And another Canadian group, sadly no longer recording together: Kashtin. I was lucky to see  them close up and for free when the Commonwealth Games came to Victoria (BC) back in 1994. They were playing on a stage set up in front of the Empress Hotel and I managed to work my way right up near the front. Unforgettable!

Kashtin Innu

One  of my all-time favourite groups. They were fantastic; playing everything from huge halls to small bush camps. I still listen to them often.

CWGames 94 - logo

There were performers from all over the world and I got to meet quite a few of them, including an Aborigine from Australia who showed me his didgeridoo and let me hold it. I was so in awe of all these talented people; since I was just an untalented volunteer.

CWGames 94 - two headed serpent

I’m under there, somewhere . . . this is a¬†First Nation (Haida, I think)¬†Double-Headed Serpent from the opening ceremony.

CWGames 94 - Queen and Prince Philip

I was in the closing ceremony, too, wearing a huge¬†foam hand costume, performing a square dance. I can’t find a photo of that, but afterwards, we were lined up along the track and I got to see the Queen and Prince Philip a bit closer than this as they left. I was so lucky!

And, like Columbo, I have “One last thing” . . .

If you want something sweet to make for Christmas and don’t have much time, try these fabulous felted slippers from Eclectic Home & Life. I haven’t gotten far with the pair I want to make for my Aunty and now I know why . . . now to find some real wool yarn. ‚̧

Happy New Year to all in 2014

This is likely my longest post ever, so I won’t mind if you don’t read it all (or if you don’t listen to all the music) Music is such an individual thing and not many share my tastes, so no worries . . . it’s a great joy to me and I’ve been playing my old favourintes while I’ve been typing this, so I thought I’d share a bit of my soundtrack. However, that said, you may want to listen to the first one, as it’s really a New Year’s Eve song:

One of my brothers-in-law sent me this link and I thought some of you would enjoy the song, the photos and the wishes, which I echo for you. The singer is Sissel Kyrkjeb√ł, the well-known Norwegian soprano:

I’ve noticed how many of you have summed up your past year and shared some of your plans, wishes and hopes for the coming year; reading your posts has caused me to think about my own past year and the year to come.

I began this blog in November of 2012 and originally it was meant to complement my Etsy store (still not open). I’m planning to start another blog for publicizing the store. Like many of you, I rarely look at my stats, as I don’t have a goal of acquiring followers or whatever. My main interest, stat-wise, has been seeing where people come from.
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The view early this afternoon facing West from Mum’s place. We’ve had frequent snow over the past few days, but now too deep at any one time.

As I said, I have an Etsy store, which I began working on before I was laid off in May of 2012. But I chose to focus on family this past summer, so didn’t make any progress toward creating actual stock. That’s still on the cards, though. Seeing Pauline open her store has inspired me to get focused again, as for now I’m not staying with my Aunty (her son is home for an indefinite period). I’ve run through a lot of ideas, but it hasn’t been easy to decide on what I might create and sell successfully. Hence the name of the store and this blog. ūüôā

Divine Intervention?
During the run-up to Christmas, the only Christmassy thing I did was some baking and cooking. I have to share what happened, it’s so typical of me and my ‘random’ approach to nearly everything: After I’d made the shortbread, I made two pound cakes, one with halved green and red cherries, the other with sultanas and coconut. In both cases, the fruit sank to the bottom, which isn’t quite what I’m used to. Nothing deterred, though, I pushed onward . . . to the Apricot Slice that was posted by Wendy of All the fruit chopped and ready, I opened the can of condensed milk that I found in the cupboard a while ago. The lid was half off when I realized it was not white, but brown! What I had was the new flavour, “Dulce et Leche” . . . oh, well, that’ll teach me to read before opening (you’d think . . .), so, since it wasn’t going to be a white slice, I put in half white chocolate chips and half semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate. That part worked fine. I think I have a photo of the results here:
IMG_4607[1] There was more, but I sent some with Mum for the Christmas dinner and of course I had to test a few pieces to make sure it really was ok . . .

So the slice done (sort of), I moved on to Stacy Allbritton’s Christmas Divinity I had all the ingredients in my big old pot that I used to use to make popcorn, soup, stews and more for my family. I love that pot. Not as much as I love Mr. 23Thorns and his wife Tracy ūüėČ but quite a lot. See?
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Then I took the bowl with the egg whites and got ready to beat them . . . I found the beaters, but no power handle. I guess it’s been MIA since we packed everything up for the bug spraying a couple of years back. We have no idea which box it’s in, either. Oh, well . . . I got out the stick blender, the old one that’s quieter. It did its best, but no go. I tried the new, and noisy, one. Same result. I tried the various whisks we have, but they aren’t very big and didn’t do it, either. So I gave up . . . I planned to get a new handheld beater at the mall the next day. But I had a lot to do that day, didn’t write it on my list, got home and oh, no! I didn’t have it. That was Christmas Eve and everything was closed. So I packed up what I did have for the dinner and let it all go, sort of. On that Friday (the 27th) when I was downtown, I checked the dollar store and they didn’t have an electric beater, but they did have a decent sized whisk, which I promptly acquired. The next day, I added a couple more egg whites to the bowl, to make up for any evaporation, also a pinch of cream of tartar and a squirt of lemon juice, both of which help egg whites turn into lovely stiff peaks. Then I proceeded to whip . . . and just over ten minutes later, voila!
IMG_4623[1] See that lovely peak? Yes!!
Back to my favourite cauldron pot:
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For a while, all went well; the pot bubbled in a most satisfactory way and I stirred without stopping. Then it was time to add the syrup to the egg whites. Well, my ancient electric mixer is languishing in the storage units in Vernon (BC), but the new whisk would do nicely. I placed the bowl on a folded tea towel so it wouldn’t skitter off the counter while I was whipping the mix into some sort of submission. But I’d misjudged one thing: the bowl wasn’t quite large enough. The bigger bowls were in the fridge already, so I figured if I held my mouth just so and hoped . . . but no, not quite. A wee bit of egg white made its escape to the counter, the rest simply rose over an inch above the edge of the bowl and threatened to follow suit. I hastily dumped the remaining syrup in, put down the pot and commenced to stir as best I could. Note I said ‘stir’, not ‘whip’. It does make a difference and I do know that, since I made candy similar to this aeons ago for our family Christmas feasts.
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But I couldn’t whip; so I did the best I could, then managed to transfer the mixture into the greased baking pan I had waiting. As I still had plans for giving it away the next day, and it was pretty hot, I popped the lid on the dish and put it out on the balcony in the snow:
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Later I brought it in, to find that the mix had separated and the bottom layer was still very syrupy. Oh, well . . . I got out the old, smaller, wire whisk and mixed it up well; back outside, but this time onto the table right next to the doors. Next morning, I went to bring it in, hoping the dish held something approaching edible (I’d given up on divine Divinity by then); oh, no! the doors are frozen shut . . . so the divinity or whatever approximates it is still outside enjoying an Edmonton winter . . .

Some days I think my whole life can be summed up thus: “It seemed like a good idea at the time . . .” And sometimes you just have to laugh and move on . . .

So, my apologies to Wendy and Stacy. I’d hoped to include those treats as a way of including some of my followers in my Christmas, but it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped . . . maybe next year. I do have ingredients to make one more Apricot Slice and this time I have the proper version of condensed milk. I’ll let you know how that works out . . .

I hadn’t mentioned, and might as well, that in that week before Christmas I set up the bread machine that my crafty friend gave me last summer. Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone then, either (this was before the candy catastrophes) . . . I forget now exactly what I changed, but it was more than one ingredient (my recipes aren’t up to my hand-made bread healthy standards, so I tend to ‘doctor’ them up a bit . . . worst of all, I didn’t measure properly. I know I’m supposed to be exact and all that, but I sort of fly by the seat of my pants when doing most things . . . you may have noticed ūüėČ Having gotten the machine started, off I went to Mum’s room to check my FeedReader, emails and probably post something or other. Not to mention play a couple of games of Blitz on FB, for the soothing results it produces. A couple of hours later, I went to the kitchen for water and noticed that white smoke was curling up from the vents of the bread machine. Oh, no! I flung open the lid and guess what? The dough was lovely and very, very lush . . . so lush, it had expanded upwards and outwards and then, slowly, downwards . . . onto the heating element (I knew there was a reason I preferred wood stoves), where it stuck and began to do a credible imitation of charcoal. Oh well . . . I turned it off, got the basket out and dumped the dough into a large bowl (the one that would have been perfect for the divinity later, only by then it was in the fridge holding jellied salad or something. I set the pan to soak in the sink, scooped as much of the dough as possible off the walls of the machine, added flour (quite a lot, as it turned out) and began kneading.
IMG_4526[1] The inside of the machine after I scraped it down . . .

I had the electric stove oven heating by then and a couple of bread pans greased and waiting. When the dough felt right (just like a baby’s bottom, as my Mum taught me when I first learned to make bread; I was 12 or 13 then) I divided it in two and set it in the pans to rise. A while later, I popped them in the oven and this was the result:
IMG_4542[1] YUMMY!! Lucky me!

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Last Friday (the 27th), looking from the bus stop across the street south toward downtown. Enough snow so the skyline has disappeared . . . but at the time, it was only -6C, so I was a happy camper. I had a nice afternoon; posted a Little Christmas box to my older son, his partner and their five kids (and it didn’t break the bank, either; last time I sent a box, it was much larger and had not only books, but cookies and other baking and it cost over $50 in postage. Since then, I’ve just sent cash when I could, but it isn’t the same . . . This year I stuck to books.) The bad news, though, was that even if I had paid extra, there was no guarantee that it would arrive by the 6th, so I sent it regular post and we’ll see . . . I was told maybe it wouldn’t arrive ’til the 17th or 18th . . . oh, well . . . if I’d known Christmas was coming, I would have been ready ūüėČ

For those of you who love Scots Gaelic, here’s two links to what I’m listening to right now:
This one is “An Sabhal aig Neill (Over by Neill’s Barn)”, if you are interested.
A toe-tapping tune . . .

and this is “An Abhal ad Airde (The Highest Apple)”, live at the Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow.

This one is on my playlist for my funeral one day (not too soon, I hope). I really love it! My heartfelt apologies to Mr. 23Thorns, whose great post on the word ‘Love.’ (and Bacon.) is here:
http://23thorns.com/2012/08/31/love-and-bacon/ I have to say, I love his blog, too . . .

After I posted the box, I went to the library, returned three quarters of a rolly cart’s worth of books plus a few DVDs, then promptly filled up again. I’d ordered everything they have by Lian Hearn, whose work I’ve been in love with for a couple of years now. Plus a couple of Fair Isle knitting books. Plus some DVDs. So Mum’s card is full (40 limit per card) and the rest are on mine. I had planned to meet a friend, but the roads were so icy, she decided not to come out (good idea, too; I saw a police car going through the main intersection downtown and skidding quite a lot; and those guys can drive!); so I decided to treat myself and took myself off to the Second Cup coffee shop that’s attached to the downtown library for a Mocha Mint Icepresso (yep, a blended iced coffee!) and a yummy Nanaimo bar (huge, I have to say!). I sat there reading the first of the Tales of the Otori, “Heaven’s Net is Wide” and falling in love all over again. Lian Hearn is from New Zealand (think I mentioned her in a recent post, didn’t I?)
IMG_4619[1] I took this after I left the coffee shop three hours later. You can just see it on the corner towards me. By this time the temperature was nearly -30C with the windchill and the snow was blowing and biting. It was still worth it, though, just sitting, reading, thining and looking out through the big window as the snow came heavier and heavier . . . if there had been a hammock handy, I’d be there yet . . . So that was my 27th of December and a good day it was . . .

Here’s another Gaelic song, “Tillidh Mi (I will Return)” with photos that will touch your heart, all those of you who are working to create this sort of life for yourselves:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDc1vit8roI&list=PL4150FCD007BB03D3 Makes me homesick . . . and happy.

There was a lot of good for me this year, including knitting over two thirds of a Fair Isle style cardi that is likely to be wearable once done. I’m finishing up the bottom now (sorry, no photos yet), then it’s on to the sleeves and the button bands (and maybe a hood). I did a bunch of other knitting, too, and earlier in the year quite a bit of hand-sewing. No further progress on those projects, yet.

I made new online friends, too; it’s such a delight for me to find so many kindred souls and see my ‘virtual village’ come to life. The best of the ‘net . . . I hope to go on reading about your lives, learning from you, sharing some of my own stories and much more . . . We are a diverse bunch who share similar hearts and spirits; checking your blogs is a highlight for me every day.

And for you greenies, here is “Our Earth Was Once Green”:

This song “South Australia” makes me think not only of my Aussie friends, but also the kiwis and others from the bright side of the earth . . .

And last, but certainly not least (in case anyone is still with me . . . ) my favourite Canadian group, no longer together, but I did see them in person once and it only increased my already deep regard for them: Kashtin:

Have a wonderful year, everyone! We are building the world we want to live in and that’s the best thing ever.

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