Saturday 27 February 2021

Curling the days away

 A week of curling is in the books, though the first event isn't over just yet. The men's Brier starts next Friday and will be followed by the mixed doubles and then the men's worlds.  Finally, two Grand Slam events are expected to be held in April.  Prepare yourselves, this blog will be taken over by curling information for the next 10 weeks or so.  

If you haven't guessed this already, I spent most of the week watching curling and knitting.  Our Saskatchewan team bounced back from their first loss, and made it into the second round robin.  In fact, they were top of their pool even though the team didn't play particularly well.  They did, however, come up with the right shots at the right time and took advantage of other team's mistakes. 

I suspect they won't be in the semi and final - those spots will likely go to the top three teams, Manitoba, Team Canada, and Ontario. Although I'm not a big fan of Team Ontario (Homan), I have been impressed with her curling this week as she's eight months pregnant.  It can't be easy getting up and down in the hack to throw! 

One of the teams that have impressed me this week is Team Quebec, a young team that recently finished their junior curling. The young skip, Laurie St. Georges is a risk taker and fearless. That can get the team into trouble with lots of rocks in play but she often makes the final shot that works in their favour.  I expect we'll see more of them in the future.  

The last two games will be played today, with the top three heading to the semi and final tomorrow.  Unless there happens to be a tie-breaker, but at the moment that isn't looking likely. Our Sask. team split their games yesterday and would need to win out the two today to make it to tomorrow's games.  In any event, they've done well this week and can be proud of their efforts.

With all the curling, I've made good progress on the latest baby blanket.  No photo yet, I'll wait until it is finished.  And despite the amount of time I've spent on the couch, I've managed to get my walk in everyday (indoors), keep the house in reasonable order, and got the groceries earlier in the week.  I left the house before 8 a.m. and was home in time to have everything tucked away by 9:30 in time for the first draw.  I have my priorities. :)

I've had visitors this week too, but not of the human kind.  First up was this rabbit.  It was sitting out back and when I spotted it through the window it didn't even move when I took a few photos with my cellphone.

It's a big bunny and hopefully those dark markings are a hint that spring isn't too far away.

Next up was this Hungarian partridge.  Normally, they show up in groups of three or more but this one was on its own.  It didn't stick around when it realized I was at the window so this was the best shot I got.  I love the markings on the wings.

This morning brought the latest visitor, though I suspect it is a regular visitor to the bird feeder. It wasn't eager to have it's photo taken, but after running along the fence, stopping to scold me, it came back to the top of the feeder.  I guess hunger overcame any fear.

I fill the bird feeder once a day, putting feed in the feeder itself and on top and sprinkling some on the ground.  Today was a cold morning -21C (-6F) so I'm certain all my visitors are appreciative. Thankfully, the cold weather won't last more than 24-36 hours and we'll back to mild temperatures.

That pretty much wraps up my week.  Curling won't start until 1:30 this afternoon so I'll putter around the house until then. I never run out of things that need to be done.  Funny, when I was at work I often felt bored but at home, never.  

Take care everyone and have a good week ahead.

Saturday 20 February 2021

My happy place

Time flies when you're having fun, am I right?  I've been looking forward to this upcoming weekend for awhile now.  And good things come to those who wait...okay I'll quit now.  Friday was the start of the Canadian women's curling (the Scotties) being held in a bubble in Calgary, Alberta.  The tournament is quite different from the past events, with no audience except cardboard cutouts of fans who've paid for that privilege.  I thought about it, but at the price point it wasn't really feasible so I decided I'll just watch the television.  

There are more teams than normal as well, with each province and territory having a representative, (Ontario has two with Northern Ontario and Ontario), plus Team Canada - the team that won the event last year and three wild card teams.  The latter were invited on the basis of points earned in other events.  Oddly enough, those latter three teams are all from Manitoba as is the current Team Canada.  Add in the representative from the province and I won't be surprised if, with five teams in the mix, a Manitoba team wins again this year.  

The equalizer this year will likely be the fact that most of the teams have played very little this year.  While many of the individual players were able to continue practicing, many events were shut down due to Covid-19 numbers and, even in one case that I'm aware of was suspended due to a case discovered at the event.  In any event that's a total of 18 teams.  They've been divided into two pools with the top four teams from each pool making it into the next round robin.  Finally the top three teams from that grouping will play off, with the first place team (based on round robin standings) will go straight to the final on Sunday February 28.  The second and third place teams will playoff for the spot in the final.  With three draws most days until the playoffs, my days will be full!

I listened to a curling podcast last week with one of the players and a coach and the Covid rules are very stringent. The players and coaches will be tested every day and temperature checks will be taken prior to leaving the hotel and the arena.  The players are not allowed to leave the hotel or arena except to go to the other venue by the transportation provided.  The entire hotel is designated for the players, coaches and I believe the few media that are permitted within the bubble.  I've got my fingers crossed that everything goes off without a hitch. I know the organizers will shut it down if there are any concerns.

Two draws are in the books, and while there have been some missed shots so far the curling has been good and definitely fun to watch.  Even if our Saskatchewan team lost in the final end on the final shot in their first game. :(  

Meanwhile I've been keeping busy this week with the regular housework, scouring Ancestry for relatives, doing a bit of knitting and a bit of crafting.  On Tuesday I did my weekly shopping because Safeway had a number of items on sale that ended that day including Nabob coffee for $9.99. That's about 50% off so a darned good deal.  I also needed bird seed, and made a stop at the dollar stores for a couple of items.

I'm tired of winter so decided I'd pretend it is spring, at least inside the house. I started with this bowl I had on hand. I bought it years ago at Winners, with a fall floral insert.  It was okay, but it was looking tired and faded, and I was tired of it.
I started by painting the bowl, then placed the dots and did two more coats of paint to cover everything to make it appear to be a hobnail vase. TBH, if I really wanted it to be a hobnail I would have needed to add a bazillion more dots.  As it was this was enough for me.  

I used a piece of floral green foam, with a bit of moss on top, added some of the spring florals and greenery I've picked up on various trips to the dollar store to make a new insert.  You may notice there are a few Easter eggs in the mix.  I can remove those after Easter and add more more flowers...I have some yellow ones that would look pretty.  Since none of the items are glued in, I can change up the floral insert for the different seasons. 

I removed the snowflake patterned tablecloth and changed it out for the blue check. It makes me happy and it certainly brightens up the kitchen.

Of course, this led to more things being painted.  I have an candle holder that was given to me several years ago.  I never really cared for it, it was too dark and heavy, but I kept it because it was a gift.  I meant to take a before photo but forgot, but here it is after I finished painting and distressing it. I like it much better now!  

While watching television programs or hockey this week I finished four dishcloths for D.  The baby sweater is next on the list of the projects but I realized that I don't have the correct needle size. Instead I started another baby blanket that I'll work on while watching the curling.  

Speaking of television programs, if you haven't watched Big Sky and are a fan of crime dramas, I highly recommend it.  Unlike other programs things don't get wrapped up in an hour (and don't get me wrong I love Law and Order, Criminal Minds, and NCIS in all its versions) but this one has really caught my attention. There is always a twist I didn't expect and I'm always left wanting more.  However, it is a bit ugly in the story line and definitely creepy at times so I know it wouldn't be for everyone.

Since this post is about my happy place, which is currently my home and all the things I can do here, I thought I'd share a photo from a five years ago when I was in another happy place in the Caribbean.

This is from the Bahamas, not one of my favorite ports, but I simply love the variations of the blue water. 

Have a great week ahead everyone.  Take care and stay well!

Saturday 13 February 2021

Almost goodbye (to the cold weather)

Monday morning was the coldest morning to that point, with a temperature of -37C when I went out to feed the birds at 8:30 in the morning.  I won't tell you the wind chill because at that point it just doesn't matter.  Just know that my nose hairs froze in the few minutes I was outside. Usually the birds don't arrive at the feeder for several minutes after I've left the back yard, but there were several waiting in the tree in the next yard as I filled the feeder.  Inside the house I watched them from the kitchen window - they were definitely hungry and the feeder was empty by mid-morning.

I needed to run an errand for D on Tuesday so ordered my groceries for pick-up that afternoon.  I stopped in at Value Village since I was in the area and found a pair of Osh Kosh shoes for Eli for $5.99 - regular price is about $20. When I checked my receipt I realized I got the senior's discount so paid just over $4 for them!  They are gently used and should be good summer shoes for him.  Later that day I needed to mail an envelope so made a pit stop at the Dollarama and also Walmart for a few craft supplies. I also picked up Eli's birthday present, a bike helmet.  His mom bought a bike for him last year but he really wasn't interested, although he could reach the pedals he couldn't figure out how to make them go around.  This year, he's taller and I suspect he'll have no problem.  He turns four in under three weeks. I'm hoping to make a trip out to help celebrate as he won't be able to have friends - it's all weather dependent.

The rest of the week was about housework, Ancestry, staying indoors, and a bit of crocheting and knitting. I finished the baby blanket but didn't start on the sweater as I'd originally planned. My daughter asked if I could make her dishcloths - I've got one finished and another on the needles now.

The cold weather has continued through the week. This morning it was -38C; I continue to go to feed the birds first thing in the morning before the wind gets up.  It's definitely cold but not as bad as it would feel with a wind blowing in my face. I went around the side of the house to check the furnace exhaust.  I'm glad I did as there was ice from the exhaust stretching down to the ground, about 18-24 inches.  It wasn't blocked - good thing as when the exhaust blocks the furnace shuts down. Thankfully we seem to be near the end of the really cold weather; we'll be back to more seasonal temperatures by Monday.  

Some more good news this week, our province announced that Phase 2 of the vaccinations will start in April, and my age group (60-69) will be eligible.  With the increased volume of doses expected over the next several weeks, I'm hopeful I'll be able to get my shot(s) sometime in April or May. It was also announced that they will be using pharmacies to deliver the vaccination.  I'm quite happy as I've received my annual flu shot at a local pharmacy and not had any issues beyond a sore arm for a couple of days.

Today is "Hockey Day in Canada", with three games throughout the day.  In between the first and second game I made dinner, caught up on blog reading and finished this post. Just in time for the next game and more knitting.  

Take care everyone, stay well and stay warm!


Saturday 6 February 2021

Keeping close to home


On Monday morning, when I headed out to feed the birds I took the camera with me.

It was a bit foggy out there and the trees were covered in hoar frost or perhaps rime ice.  The latter is formed when the fog droplets rapidly freeze. However, I can't tell the two apart so I'll leave it to others to decide.

Whatever it is, I think it almost looks like leaves on the branches.  So pretty and later, the crystals fall and sparkle as the day warms up.

I made a couple of trips out of the house this week, first on Tuesday to Costco and Peavey Mart, and on Wednesday to the Dollarama and Walmart for my groceries.  I follow the Costco West fan blog - the author is in British Columbia, and sends out an e-mail each week of the items on sale (and often other things that he finds interesting) at the warehouse.  I went through the post and noted there were several items I wanted.  Overall I saved about $15 on the five items I purchased so well worth the trip.  

We had some snow overnight on Tuesday into Wednesday.  Once the groceries were put away I went out to clear the driveway and sidewalks, as the temperatures were dropping throughout the day.  I woke to -7C (19F); by 6 p.m. the temperature was -17C (1F) with a windchill of -29C (-20F).  We were heading into a cold snap for the next week and I wanted it done.

The cold weather is always a good time to stay indoors and work on my crocheting and the family trees.  I've been working on my dad's side of the family.  There was an exciting bit of information - I thought - when I found that many trees indicate my 3X great grandmother Maria Claudia Stoney was the daughter of Captain Jack (John) Stoney of Beaufort, South Carolina.  However, I've come to the conclusion that this is not correct, as all of the on-line information suggests the Stoney's had only two sons who survived to daughters.  So I've run into a dead end on her side as well. 

I started another blanket with a pattern that was "quick and easy".  Well, it didn't work that way for me. I started and tore it back three or four times before I gave up.  The way I read the instructions the edge of the blanket grew on one side and decreased on the other, but the author mentioned you continued the rows until it was a square so....I just decided it wasn't what I wanted.  I found another pattern that is easy and definitely is quick to make up.  After that I'll use the remainder of the ball of wool from the last blanket to make up a little sweater - I went to toss out the paper wrap and noticed the pattern on the back of it. 

My baby brother R turned 59 this week. I sent him a text that morning with a gif of a birthday cake covered in lighted candles. Of course I realize, I'll probably get a reminder later this year that I'm older than he is.  When I was a child I remember thinking that 60 was ancient, but now that I'm past that age I know it isn't. :)

We're into the truly cold weather today. When I went out to feed the birds this morning, the temperature was -33C (-27F) with a wind chill of -44F (-47F).  Even though I knew I wouldn't be out there very long, I bundled up well with a heavy coat, toque, two pairs of mitts, and my boots.  This is the cold when the snow squeaks when you walk on it.  It's a sunny day though and I can hear the birds calling to each other in the spruce tree out front.  I'm grateful for my comfortable, warm home and quite happy to have the ability to stay indoors.

Have a good week ahead everyone!