Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What's she building in there?*

bits n pieces

Recently spotted in my bedroom. What could it be???

bits n pieces

Too small for a hat.

bits n pieces

Too round for a pair of socks.

bits n pieces

The stumpiest, most unattached gloves you ever did see?

a ball?

A ball for the dog, perhaps?

bits n pieces

Complete with oozing green stuff.

Jada's Elefante

Jada's Elefante

But yes, of course, it's another Elefante!

I made this one for my friends Rebecca and Jonathan's little girl, Jada. I love this yarn. It's self-striping sock yarn, so it looks more complicated than my last Elefante, but it wasn't. This one is smaller. The ears went on a little wonky, however, so it looks a bit more like a mouse with a very long nose than an elephant. But so easy! And so much fun to knit! I'm planning to make at least two more in the near future.

* With apologies to Tom Waits.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So this one time? In Vancouver?

I went to a conference in Prince George, B.C.,* near the end of June, and afterwards, spent a day and a half in Vancouver visiting with my good friend Donna.

Donna and I!

I first met Donna 18 years ago when my family moved to Thornhill. We used to walk home from school together, about a 40-minute walk.** Donna and I have not lived in the same city for well over 12 years now - probably longer - so I only get to see her once or, if I'm lucky, twice a year. Not nearly enough.

Arriving late in Vancouver on a Friday night and then leaving just after lunch on Sunday afternoon means you call your visit "a day and a half in length", but it really is just one day. We had grand plans for our day together, the majority of which were quickly scuttled by car troubles. Doing the Grouse Grind*** had to give way to walking to the Canadian Tire to buy a new car battery and then walking back to Donna's place with the car battery in the baby stroller and the baby strapped to his mom.**** In the rain.

But we did get to chat till late together, and we did get to go for breakfast together (twice!), and we did get to wander the streets together, and we did get to generally hang out and catch up. Later on the Saturday, once the car problems were resolved, the sun was coming out so we drove out to West Vancouver to meet up with Donna's husband Matt once he got off work, and we walked the seawall.

That was the point when I remembered I had packed a camera:

Lion's Gate Bridge, Stanley Park, and Vancouver

West Vancouver

One more last look

I think something is wrong with my camera, however. Because other than the one I posted above, the only picture I got of my lovely hosts is of their backsides:

My wonderful hosts

And despite him being one of my favourite babies of all time, I didn't manage to get a single photo of little Jacob, though I did manage to get no less than 5 - five! - shots of this little guy:

Giant slug

Neither as cute nor as cuddly, not by a long shot.

You can see the full set of West Vancouver seawall photos, including a surprise a little cuddlier than the giant slug, on my Flickr pages.

* It rained the entire time in PG. And my hotel was in the middle of nowhere. The conference was about copyright issues, so not very photographic. So I have no pictures of PG, other than my hotel room.

** We never walked to school together, just home. I think because I mostly would get a ride down with my dad in the mornings. There was also a school bus that I avoided like the plague - I think I took it to school about 3 times in one year.

*** I'm not saying we would have done the Grouse Grind, just that it quickly became not-an-option.

**** I got to pretend I had a child, as I pushed the stroller, albeit a child with wires and acid. LOL :)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

(Knitting) update

So remember back in April? When I posted that I had 6 days to finish a certain project for a certain baby?

Goodness gracious, great ball of --???
Goodness gracious, great ball of --???

I was supposed to bring this as part of a baby shower gift...happening the day after I took this picture. From the advanced state in which it is clearly in, needless to say, it didn't get finished in time.

I ended up working on it only occasionally, and then finished it in time for a trip out West in late June, where my friend lives. Of course, being me, I did the final touches at about midnight the night before seeing her!

Almost done!
Hey li'l guy, why so shy and scared?

Come here, li'l guy!
Awww, no wonder he's so shy and scared. He can't hear or see!

Ahhhh, that's better
Ahhhh, that's better.

This is Jacob's Elefante. I love him so much, I want to make 17 more. But I'll probably stick to 2 or 3 for now.

Jacob's Elefante

Jacob's Elefante Jacob's Elefante Jacob's Elefante

I even made him a buddy!

Jacob's Elefante...s???

Or, well, maybe not.

Jacob's Elefante discovers mirrors
Jacob's Elefante discovers mirrors, though his skill with sink taps is not yet very well developed.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Day!

I was away for about 10 days this month, and when I got back, there were two letters waiting for me.

Happy Day!

Let me make it clear: The. Two. Best. Letters. Ever.

Happy Day! Happy Day!

Making May 23, 2011, despite being the day I returned to Ottawa from a wonderful vacation out west, The. Best. Day. Ever.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

pixxiefish in the sea: The Food Network Edition*

About once a month, I blog ...er, cook.

Pigs are flying! Julie is cooking!

Since it was May Day, I figured I should get the monthly cooking duty over with.**

When we were at Costco the weekend before last, we bought a 3-pack of tofu. Now, we like tofu. But I think the amount of times we have cooked with tofu at home is also in the neighbourhood of 3. But! Between last night's dinner and tonight's, we are now down to only ONE block of tofu remaining :)

I found a recipe online for tofu with peanut-ginger sauce. Now I have a distinct memory of us having bought a peanut sauce a while back, but my pantry is apparently so well-organized that I couldn't find it. However, this recipe was so easy, it didn't matter.

Here's how I made it:


Peanut-ginger sauce

I ended up making 1.5 times the amount of sauce the recipe called for, since I threw in so many more vegetables than it called for (see below). I eyeballed the .5 ...and I should have just doubled it, in retrospect (though it was still dee-lish).

  • 7.5 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons natural peanut butter (recipe called for smooth but I only had chunky)
  • 1.5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce (due to eyeballing, I put in almost 4)
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 3 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside.

Tofu and vegetables

  • 4 cups baby spinach (I used the more accurate measurement called "5 handfuls")
  • random veggies in the fridge: sugar snap peas; baby carrots, chopped; broccoli; tomatoes;*** 1 white onion.

Veggies for the mix

  • 15 ounces extra-firm tofu (I used one 10.5 pack plus the remaining half of another, leftover from dinner the night before)
  • olive oil

Drain and rinse tofu; pat dry. (I put it on paper towel on a plate and squished it under another plate. I also realize, as I look at this again, that I totally skipped the "rinse" step. Meh.) Cut into approximately 1/2-inch thick cubes.

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add tofu and cook in a single layer, without stirring, until the pieces begin to turn golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Then stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all sides are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes more.

Add onions and carrots. Then add green beans, spinach, and peanut sauce. Then panic that green beans were added too early, and pick them out one at a time. Once green beans completely removed, realize it is time to put them back in. Put them back in. At least the in-and-out kept you busy for 90 seconds.**** Add the other veggies.

I ♥ my wok

Oh, yes - very important: Use the lid that is still too small for the wok to help steam the veggies.

Make quinoa***** to accompany on the side.


Eat, enjoy, and learn to take better photographs of food.


Makes 4 servings - yay for leftovers!

* aka "Pigs Are Flying! Julie Is Cooking!"
** This photograph is also an excuse to show off (albeit poorly) the new haircut. So! Short!
*** Yes! Me! I know! I hate tomatoes! And you know what? I didn't die!
**** And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I don't cook on a regular basis.
***** Quinoa = my new favourite thing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A whole lot of...

Jacob's Elefante

I can't tell you what this is yet. But I should be able to by Saturday. Y'know, the day this knitting project needs to be done by.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Good evening, shoppers. There is a seniors' special in Aisle 7."

March 22, 2011

When I bought this a few weeks ago, Randal said out loud what I had been secretly fearing in my heart - that a day-of-the-week pill dispenser is what old people buy. Yup, this is now the only way I can keep track of what day it is - Tuesday: have I had my pills yet today? (Don't worry; I took this photo yesterday - yes, I know today is Wednesday.)

sigh - I'm sure Depends, dinner at 4 p.m., and people ceding their seat to me on the bus is not far behind.*

Something else to which I have resorted in my old age: liquid diets:
March 13, 2011

Yeah, OK, maybe not.

Jerome and Nadia came over the weekend before last with a bunch of things they had brought back for us from my parents' house in Toronto, and to thank them, we made cream soda ice cream floats. They were so pretty! And tasty, too. As if that needs to be pointed out.

Finally, I am now going to post what is hopefully the last photo with snow in it for this winter.**

Compare last week Tuesday with this week Tuesday:

March 15, 2011 Gasp! Could it be???

There's hope yet, no?

* Seriously, though, I am currently on anti-coagulants for a blood clot I suffered on the flight home from Egypt (yeah, as if going to Egypt in January wasn't exciting enough on its own), and I have to take a different amount of pills most days, so in my defence, this really is the only way I can keep track. At least, that's what I will tell the social services people when they try to cart me away to a long-term care home.

** Dang. I just jinxed myself real good, didn't I?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



Darth Vader discovers what the Emperor does all day long, sitting alone in the Death Star.

I'm sure if the Emperor had any real colour left in his skin, he'd be blushing right now.

March 20, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like...

March 12, 2011

At least I didn't wait till Saint Paddy's Day to take the tree down this year.

No, sirree! It came down on March 13, a full 4 days earlier! (This picture, and others from the night before.)

For those of you who care to track these things, that's a full 8 days earlier than last year.

Yay me!

Oh, and you know what my reward for taking the tree down was? THIS:

March 15, 2011

Yeah, more snow. That was last Tuesday, AFTER a period of melting. This past weekend, more melting,* but then, what did today give us? You got it: MORE SNOW.


I hear they are looking for a law librarian in the Bahamas. ...À propos of completely nothing.

* or so I hear. I was in Toronto. It was lovely, shirt-sleeves weather there. Hey, Mom and Dad! You sure you want to move to this frozen outpost???

Friday, March 11, 2011

Be careful what you wish for...

OK, the extreme snow has sucked. But on the other hand, the extreme rain that we got overnight last night plus some heavy-duty melting today...has not led to green grass but rather, extreme wet socks and doggy paws.

March 11, 2001

Another week of Yuck, and we might be good. However, I hear it's supposed to snow again on Sunday.

After today's squooshing walk through the snow*, I'm not sure if that's actually a bad thing anymore. We could use some snow to fill in those horrid wet spots. *sigh*

* Or rather, the white substance bearing a passing resemblance to snow which actually is a front for a peculiarly Canadian springtime torture device called the Footwear Ultra-Soaker.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


It's almost mid-March, and despite having its usual less-than-humane temperatures for most of the winter months, Ottawa is experiencing the bulk of its winter NOW. It's been largely (snow)packed into the last week and a half.

March 7, 2011
Our car, after a week and a half of non-use. It took us well over 40 minutes to shovel the darn thing out. And that, despite not even having a driveway to shovel as well! There was a thick layer of snow, then a thick layer of heavy slush from some mid-week freezing rain, then another thick layer of snow. First we shoveled around the front and along the two sides. Then we swept the bulk of the snow off the top of the car. This led to us then having to shovel around the front and sides again. In the meantime, it was starting to lightly snow. We did a second sweep of the car and then - yup, you got it - had to shovel around and in front a third time. We didn't even shovel out the back part of the space. I figure we don't really need to access the trunk before spring. (*sob*)

So, just in case you live in southern Ontario or somewhere else where they are actually starting to see green grass and crocuses, here is a reminder what the rest of us Canadians are still doing:

Icicles hanging off the front of our house. We get these every year...though usually in January!

March 8, 2011
Me, carefully picking my way across the icy sidewalk earlier this week.

Break time
Rion resting on a picnic bench after a swim through the deep snow in the park.

March 10, 2011
Our backyard. There's a garden waiting, somewhere way deep down.

See more at Flickr.

* a.k.a. "Please send backup."

Dog Wearing Hat: A (Thankfully) Short-Lived Series

I don't know if Rion can look any sadder than this.
February 18, 2011

Oh, wait - yes, he can.
Dog In Hat.

Explanation: My mom was here over the Family Day weekend in mid-February. She'd brought a bunch of things for me. This felt hat, which she had made for one of my Cabbage Patch Kids when I was a kid as part of a medieval outfit, somehow got mixed into the bag of stuff. It was perfectly doggy-sized. Rion was ecstatic when he saw that my mom took the hat back with her to Toronto.*

* He better not get too comfy in his current hat-less state. She is moving here this fall, after all, so that hat just might make its way back onto his head.