Wednesday, July 28, 2010

(Almost) Over too soon

(The "yard horse" down the street from us) 
While it feels like we’ve only just settled into our routines here, we leave in just a few days.  This year I didn’t quite plow through as many books, complete as many projects, or read all the NYTimes Book Reviews I’d brought with me.  Such is life.
    I did finish the Elizabeth George book (With No One to Witness).  Reading mysteries is a must-do here, and I’m glad I got at least one in.  Although had it not been over 700 pages in length, I might very well have read another one too.
    As for knitting, I’m deep into my Noro sweater, which is giving me great love and satisfaction.  The Cash Iroha yarn is amazing.  I’ve finished the back (making a few adjustments like adding a selvedge stitch at each end and leaving the shoulder stitches live so I can use a Kitchner stitch to put the sweater together) and have started the front.
    Unfortunately, the love didn’t extend to the tank top I’d actually finished and stitched together.  Yes, after working the armhole a couple of times, I realized that the whole thing was too big and that I would never wear it in its current manifestation.  I’ve taken it apart and already ripped out the back.  I’ll rip out the front when I get back.  I just couldn’t stand it as it was and will reknit it (once I recover from the trauma of needing to “put it down”) in the smaller size.
    We’re not always just hanging around the cottage.  Last week we took a day trip out to Joggins (fossil cliffs) and Cap D’Or.

We’d never been to Joggins (the photo above is my feet on the rocks of the beach), but it was pretty cool.  We found what we think are fossils, which we photographed (on Liss’ camera).  I was really good and resisted my acquisitive desires by not taking one home with me (you can only take a fossil if you have a permit).  I was tempted.
    We’ve been to the Lighthouse on Cape D’Or before.  It was our “nice” dinner out – the restaurant is good and the setting is gorgeous.   However, my choice of footwear for the evening teetered dangerously on the border of foolhardy and stupid.
    Here’s the path:

Here’s where we were headed:
And this is what I wore on my feet:
    I am, however, determined and managed to make it down unscathed.  Going back up was no problem (as anyone who wears heels knows – up is always easier).
    We saw some incredible riptides after dinner:
And a great moon over the horizon sent us home.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I canned some beans from Green Dragon, a local organic biodynamic farm and B&B.
Two pounds of beans actually ended up making four quart jars of pickled beans.  Because of the relatively small yield, I generally tend to hoard them rather than give them as gifts.  Last year I made a ton of strawberry jams and raspberry jam, but not this year.  I still have strawberry products left from last year, and we just didn’t make it to raspberry picking this year.  I imagine if we’d been here for our usual stay (four weeks), it might have happened.  But maybe not.
    And finally, I’m back running.  After taking advice from both my father and my physiotherapist (sent her an email with a photo documenting area of pain), I’m back on track.  The problem may have stemmed from my shoes so I’ve ordered a new pair, put new insoles in the old pair, and am switching between my old running shoes and my trail running shoes.  I’ve been running steadily since last Friday and did an 11-mile run on Sunday.  So far, so good.
    From here we’re going to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (stopping near home along the way).  Yes, we’re headed to “the land.”  It’ll be our first time.  I’m looking forward to making Liss learn how to swing dance and playing some ultimate Frisbee.  We’ll see how it all goes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Clash of the Inclinations

One of the founding tensions of this blog was the little bit rock ‘n’ roll versus the little bit country parts of me (if you’re not referencing Donny & Marie right now, I’m sorry, or maybe I’m sorry if you are).  Being here is far more country than rock ‘n’ roll, and sometimes I believe that I could just live like this all the time – no make-up, casual dress, flip flops, minimal showers.  But then, I pick up my Vogue and voila!  I’m all excited about fashion and trends and on and on – I’m a little like a ten-year old thinking she loves Justin Bieber but then picking up Teen Beat (does that magazine even still exist) and realizing her heart belongs to Taylor Lautner.  (Please note, these guys do absolutely nothing for me, and even if I were a ten-year old straight girl, I’d have better taste.  Trust me on this.)
    I really find Vogue a bit ‘meh’ now although I love Grace Coddington, but I still have a subscription to it and do wait with baited breath for the September issue.  However, there’s plenty of ridiculousness within.  Please spare me the society “It” girls, the best-dressed celebrities (do they really dress themselves?  I think not), and the pronouncements on skin creams and the like.  But what I really want to know is this – is “Last Look” on the back page really a fantastic joke?  Are the people at Vogue doubled over, howling over what they’ve written?  Because, quite frankly, they should be.  Liss and I were beside ourselves after I read this little item aloud:

    “You’re headed to a friend’s house in Malibu, right on the PCH (paddleboards and homemade fish tacos graciously provided.)  The ultimate merci for what surely will be the perfect summer weekend?  Hermes has made this very chic, very restful terry cloth-covered beach mat – just plunk it down on the sand and watch the sun set.  Take on to your hostess, and no doubt you’ll be invited back” (p. 158 August Vogue).

    And what will this little bread and butter gift cost you?  $1,725!  Are you howling?  Can you hold back the tears?  Why hang out in California when you could finance a trip to Costa Rica and dump your pretentious friends?  We make fish tacos and don’t expect an overpriced camp chair for reward, even if you come to Nova Scotia where, screw the PCH, we’re feet from the water with no distractions.
    Plus, here’s the real irony.  Rich people generally do not buy gifts like that for each other, unless they’re nouveau riche, trying to prove something, and/or so rich they have nothing better to spend their money on.  Most rich people are rich because they don’t spend money like that. Many might say they’re cheap, others might just say frugal.  Whatever.  Whose idea of a joke was this anyway?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Possible titles: Vacation Pride, King of Vacations, Where do Lions Go on Vacation

It's only because I snapped this photo on our drive from Ontario:
I wonder where he was headed.
   Well, we're back at the library for our weekly reconnection with the rest of the world.  Last week I had this idea that I would clam along our shore and then eat the fruit of my labour.  Here's what I ended up with.
Yes, that would be three whole clams.  To be honest, I don't really know anything about clamming, but I was lucky enough to find these three.  However, I ended up letting them go.  I kind of felt like eating just the three of them wasn't worth the effort, and I also worried about the one with the muscle hanging out.  Flesh-eating disease would blow on vacation.  Maybe I'm a wimp.  Maybe I wouldn't cut it on (Wo)Man versus Wild, but who knows?  If push came to shove, I'd probably have popped those babies in my mouth without a second thought.  Since I'm on vacation, I have plenty of time for second thoughts.
   One of the great things about where we are is the availability of local food.  We drive to farm stores where we get free range and naturally raised chicken, pork, and beef; stop by a stand and buy vegetables that they dug up that morning; pick our own local strawberries to make strawberry ice cream later in the week.
And in between all that activity we read, craft, nap, and run or bike although I seem to have a (hopefully) slight injury on the top of my foot.  I'm trying very hard not to freak out and think that it's going to kill my marathon training.  (Yes, I can easily jump to the worse-case scenario).
   The weather has been mixed, but today it looks like we'll be enjoying the sun and the ocean.  It's hard to complain when you get views like this:
Not to cause any more jealousy than I might have already stirred up, but this is the view of low tide just a few feet off the back deck of our cottage.  Yes, we hear the ocean when we got to sleep.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Report from the edge of civilization

We've made it to the cottage, and although it's been a rainy few days, the benefits of an entirely different environment sans many of the stresses of home (television, phone, or internet) has already been beneficial.  So far I've finished the back of the tank top, the toes of a second sock, and am making my way through Sam Lipsyte's "The Ask."

We've also been cooking a lot.  We brought with us some meat we'd gotten from a meat CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) we belonged to in the fall/winter.  We've taken a hiatus from the CSA, not because the meat wasn't great (organic and grass-raised) but because we got so much of it that we needed to catch up with what we had.  Needless to say, the meat pretty much thawed on our drive despite Liss' great packing.  However, now we have meals frozen for later on in our stay.  It's pretty satisfying to cook together on a rainy day.

I went for a long run in the rain yesterday (around 9 miles).  I was pretty shocked and excited at how good I felt throughout it (I did it without an iPod).  I'm really trying to stay on track with my training.  Today is a day of rest.  I think I might take a nap soon.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Marching on

Well, my friend and I made it to the Take Back the Dyke march.  There were tons of people there, but it was all rather festive and positive despite the fact that there were no permits obtained and we took over University Avenue on our way to Queen's Park.

    There were lots of lovely people there in various outfits, costumes, and stages of undress.  Me?  I wore a little light green linen/cotton halter dress I got at a thrift store and had embroidered little cherries on.  Oh, and I wore a hat.  It was a sunny day after all.
(I actually know the woman who is taking a photo of the other side of the banner.  I didn't realize she was in this shot until I had it open in Photoshop.)
    Now we're getting ready to go on vacation.  We go to the same cottage each summer, and it's pure heaven.  I've already packed my projects and books.  The way I've packed, you'd think I was going to be gone for two months.  My projects include: the Isabella tank top for me, the Cold Mountain shawl (holiday gift), a Cornelia Tuttle sweater in Noro that I got the yarn for as a birthday gift a few years ago, the in-progress children's sweater (recipient undetermined), the second sock of a holiday gift pair, and a few other things (including a Frank Lloyd Wright crosstitch).
   I've also packed a number of books (both literary fiction & mystery), back issues of the New York Times Book Review, and a few magazines.  Plus I plan to work on my collection of short stories.  So heaven (at least in my terms) is a busy but deeply satisfying and relaxing place.  It's also a place with no internet connection.  We'll be going to the local library once a week or so to touch base with the rest of the world.
   Enjoy yourself and enjoy the summer.  I'll be in touch.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Back - in more ways than one

Yikes!  It's been almost two weeks since I last posted.  I can't exactly pinpoint why I wasn't posting for the first part of that hiatus (something about not feeling like just posting for the sake of posting, etc.), but for the second half of it, I was in New York.
   Ian was in the city for a wedding, and I thought I'd take advantage of his proximity.  I spent the weekend with my friend, Linda, a couple of hours outside of the city, since I knew Ian wouldn't be available until Tuesday, and I was long overdue for a visit with Linda.
   Hanging with Linda in the country means that I get a lot of crafting done.  I worked on my Alabama Chanin skirt and finally finished it today.  I have to say - it was an immensely satisfying experience.  The entire thing is hand-sewn, and although I didn't realize that the threads around the reverse applique areas were to be doubled, I don't think it'll suffer from my oversight.  It's amazingly forgiving thanks to the cotton jersey.  I have the feeling it will get a lot of wear.
    Here's a detail of the reverse applique in progress - I cut all but the smallest ones out.
    Here's the finished skirt on me.  Not the most flattering photo, but illustrative at least.

   I also worked on a cotton vest (pattern & yarn from Rowan), which is 90% finished.  I'm going to have to wet block it because it needs to be just a little roomier.  Hopefully it'll be completed by Monday.
   Linda takes me to tag sales and flea markets as well as crafty events like the Knit- & Spin-in at the Hudson Valley Sheep & Wool Company.  Linda wants to learn to spin, and we ended up hanging out for almost an hour chatting with the people there.  The people were really nice and not in that "yuck, I'm going to puke from the saccharine" kind of way.  I kind of wished I could hang out and knit/spin with them more often.  I am, in the meantime, going to make my own drop spindle and experiment with what I picked up there and what I can get from books.  Yes, there's really no limit in the skills I'd like to attain.

    I managed to get two runs in while I was away.  One of them was on the Walkway Over the Hudson with Linda, which was quite nice even though we ran at the worst time of the day (oh, noon-ish) on an 85 & humid day.  Running - yes?  Running smart?  Not always.
    When we got back to her place, I put in some sweat equity and stacked wood that a friend had had delivered to her place.  I'm pretty proud of this pile.  I was driven, to say the least.

   I spent Tuesday and part of Wednesday in the city.  I caught up with some friends in addition to visiting with Ian.  It was great to see the boy.  He just always makes me proud.  Over dinner, which he paid the majority for, I told him how I liked him as a person and not just because he was my son.  What can I say?  I get a little misty-eyed because I'm so f*cking lucky (I try not to swear too much because my dad reads my blog - I know, the asterisk doesn't hide much, but it's the thought that counts, right?).   I'm quite fond of his girlfriend Heather who accompanied him on the trip.  They make a good couple.

   We squeezed in one more visit over lunch on Wednesday where I met up with Artemis and her niece.  Unfortunately the photo of the two of us needs a bit more work than I can manage with my meager Photoshop skills so I can't show you how two blondes can make it right.
   Back in the Hammer now, having a little time to myself.  I really didn't want to do anything today (except finish my skirt), but I was good and went for a run.  Tomorrow is going to be hella busy as I have a two-year old's birthday party in the morning and the Take Back the Dyke march later in Toronto while hoping to catch some of the Germany-Argentina game (Go Deutschland!!!) in between.  Speaking of lesbians (wondering if I'm referring back the dyke march or Germany?  Check out Lesbian or German lady although there's a mistake - Martina is Czech, not German), anyway, I found myself watching "The Real L Word" last night.  Really?!  Just another reason I'm glad I don't live in LA - yikes!
   I'm sure there are things I've failed to mention, but this is already an epic post.  Stayed tuned for photos from tomorrow!