Friday, February 29, 2008

Collecting...For A Contest

Sarah, over at Life With... , is having a contest! Yippee! We loves contests! Her contest is dedicated to special collections and I got to thinking about mine. I, ahem, have a few. It seems I’ve accidentally become a collector, at least if the quantity of my ‘stuff’ is anything to go by. Here’s a start. I have a hefty collection of unfinished wood pieces to tole paint; a collection of European folk art (Hindeloopener, Bauernmalerei and Rosemaling to name a few); a collection of cross stitch kits to stitch, a collection of quilting fabric to sew into beautiful quilts, a hand-made (some by me, some by others) teddy bear collection, yarn… You get the picture.

However, I decided to post pictures of one of my most favouritist collections as it’s one I believe I started from birth and have continued adding to: my children’s book collection. You can assume that I had some help at the start of this particular collection. After all, no one was handing me a credit card at the tender age of 5 days old. That was probably a good thing. I’m a menace in the children’s book section. Prior to having Iain, I’d surprised many a parent when they brought up their child’s favourite book and I’d exclaim "Oh yes! I love that one! And, have you tried…?" I really missed my calling as a librarian or a book seller.

I know I’ve mentioned the fact that I LOVE children’s books on this blog before. Pictures books, board books, fairy tales, novels and on and on. I decided that I wanted to be buried with C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books when I was young. Yes, I realise that that is a weird thing for a young child to decide. However, my father is an Anglican minister. We heard about death a lot. We also had very quiet neighbours as the rectories we lived in were usually parked next to the town cemeteries. Interestingly enough for a child with a very vivid imagination, I was never scared of cemeteries. My best friend in high school once told me that she had no idea how I walked home from her place at night because I had to walk past the cemetery, next to our house, first. Sad to say, I was always a bit more concerned about the living…But, I digress.

Here is my entry for Sarah’s contest – enjoy! If you look closely, you will likely see some classics. Anyone else every heard of Noddy? I love/d Noddy. I also have a First edition of Mary Mapes Dodge’s Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates (found it in a used bookstore called The Bookery in the same building as The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY. I love that town and I love that restaurant even more!). I have books about border collies written and illustrated by Kim Lewis (Floss is a great one). I have Mister Got To Go about a cat that just moved into the Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver and never left.

I could go on but it’s Friday night, DH just got home this afternoon and Iain is being readied for bed as I type. Ah, life is good.

Thanks for hosting us a contest, Sarah! I’m almost over your midnight deadline but I think I made it!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dreams Really Do Come True

When I was a little girl, Canadian actor Ernie Coombs, AKA "Mr. Dressup", was one of my favourite shows. What I loved best about "Mr. Dressup" was his Tickle Trunk of dress up clothes. It was amazing. It didn’t matter what make believe game he would get ready to play, that Tickle Trunk always had the best and most elaborate costume! It must have been like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag because that Tickle Trunk had to have been two stories deep to hold all of that costume treasure. How I loved those costumes and dreamed of having a Tickle Trunk of my very own.

When I was a camper and, later, a camp counsellor at Killdevil Church Camp, (Lomond, Bonne Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador) there was a place that gave me a similar joy. Killdevil is comprised of some lovely old buildings and, at that time, at the top of one of the buildings in an area I can only describe as an ‘attic’, there was a magical treasure store of old clothes. One of the best parts about planning a skit for camp (apart from actually writing the skits as I really enjoyed doing that too) was going up into that room and rifling through the clothes. I even remember how it smelled with a combination of summer heat, of old wood, mustiness, and old clothes. Despite the concerns of our over-sanitized world, I really hope they kept that space as it was as I’m sure it would give the campers there today as much joy as it gave me.

This past Friday, a dream come true was delivered to our post office here in Middleton.

I have an uncle and aunt who, despite the fact that they live in Newfoundland and Labrador, we did not see a lot when I was growing up. Although my siblings and I rarely saw this uncle, one of my brothers is the spitting image of him. My mother often exclaims how my brother walks, stands or makes a comment just like Uncle D. It’s incredible how many family characteristics are passed on genetically as there was no way my brother could have copied my uncle’s behaviour because we so rarely saw each other. Unfortunately, through life’s jigs and reels, we have yet to meet this particular aunt face to face. However, partially due to the wonders of the Internet, I feel that this aunt and uncle have become a little closer to us recently.

A number of years ago, one of my computer savvy cousins developed an email list for my mother’s side of the family. The main purpose of this list was to provide weekly updates, which were printed off by another extended family member and brought to my grandmother for perusal. These documents were very precious and special to my grandmother. Even if you were playing cards with her, and that woman was a hard core card player, when the emails came in she would drop everything and read through them all. My grandmother had nine children who all have spouses and most also have children. That meant there were a lot of emails. The uncle I was writing about earlier knew how important these emails were to my grandmother and he was a force in rallying the family to write often and write much to keep that lovely lady in contact. After her reading was done, my grandmother would then write all of us an email by recitation. Not bad for a, then, octogenarian!

Since my grandmother passed away ‘the List’, as we call it, is not as busy. We are all busy with life and not having my grandmother around to focus our thoughts on once a week has not assisted with our contact with one another. However, those years of frequent emails brought a family stretched across Canada and the world, in very close contact and, I believe, to a new dimension of friendship. This brings me back to my aunt and uncle.

A number of weeks ago, my aunt contacted me by email to see if I was interested in some items she was thinking of discarding. In particular, she was thinking of getting rid of things she used to use for fancy dress parties. As DH is in the military, we usually have a fancy dress event once or twice a year and I came to mind.

This past Friday, that box of discards was delivered. On Friday night, I was transported as I pulled out clothes and jewellery from my very own brown box Tickle Trunk. It was enough to make the over imaginative nine year old in me swoon with delight. And, you know what? The contents of that box are way better than what was on television all those years ago!

Thanks so much for making my dreams come true, P!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Picture Diary, Part One

When one doesn't have knitting content to show you, one turns to cute baby photos. I do have an FO to show you soon but, as I would like to also show you a beautiful model as well, you're going to have to wait a bit longer.

Rather than knitting, I thought I'd give you a glimpse as to why my blog entries have been on the wane lately. Here is a couple of weeks in pictures, just for you!

Here's Iain on Tuesday evening, February 5th:

On Monday, February 11th, we had a snow day here. Here's what a snow day looks like at our house in Nova Scotia. Here is Mommy and her baby watching the events outside (this is also my favourite picture of Iain and I to date):

Here's what is happening outside. This gentleman, who also happens to be the grandfather of one of Iain's wee playmates, is a Godsend! Every time it snows, in he comes with his tractor to clear the drive way for us! Get this - he does it for free because he 'enjoys it'. Now that's a small town advantage!

On Wednesday, February 13, all of that lovely snow melted and we had this problem.

Yes, that's water pouring in from around our chimney. Yes, our gas insert fireplace has sustained some damage (it's turned on in the picture in a desperate attempt to dry things up). The hardwood floor and basement also sustained some damage. Yes, that bucket is filling quickly - about 12 minutes a bucket full. DH ended up on the roof with a blow torch (no, I'm not joking) and buckets of hot water to melt the ice dam that he believes was causing the problem. No, the roofing company has not made it over to remedy the situation. Yes, DH is now away and we're going through another melt/freeze cycle. Good. Times.

On February 17th, I finished this:

Okay, I lied. I am giving you a preview of my FO! I'm very proud, what can I say? More details to follow when I get pictures of the recipient modelling her pressie!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Valentine’s Conversation at Chez Fibreholic

Him: "Hon? Where did that 450g container of Hershey kisses go?"

Her: "Gee, Hon. I have no idea."

Him: "You didn’t eat that whole package by yourself, did you?"

Her: "Of course not! Jeesh! What do you take me for? Eating a whole container of chocolate all by myself?!? No way!"

Him: "You ate the entire thing didn’t you?"

Her: "Absolutely."

Have a wonderful and ‘heavy on the chocolate’ sort of Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Trip in Pictures

Suzanne, over at Yarnhog, entered a contest with the entry being a knitting story in pictures. She won an honourable mention too! Congratulations, Suzanne! I'm too late for the contest (and did not have a new knitting story in pictures to tell you about) but thought the idea of a story in pictures was a great way to tell you about our ski week! Here goes:

Iain's first driving lesson. While we were waiting to take the ferry from Digby, NS to St. John, NB, it was far too cold outside to be walking far so we waited in the car in the ferry line up after I finished nursing. As you can see, Iain loved his new toy!

This was Iain's second trip on this particular ferry (see here for his first ever ferry ride on the same ship). He seemed to enjoy this trip much more. He got to meet a new friend who was just a few weeks old and he got to play on the floor. Naturally, he got to sleep too. It was a three hour ferry trip after all.

Here's Iain's mother on the ferry! And, you're right, that doesn't look like knitting. The birthday cake hat required crocheting too.

Iain playing on the floor of our room at the Hampton Inn in Bangor, Maine. This overnight went well. On the way back, we stayed at the same hotel but it had been a rough drive from Sugarloaf because of a snow and sleet storm. I was too tired to take any other hotel pictures so this one will have to suffice.

Picking up groceries in Skowhegan, Maine. This was also Iain's first time in a shopping cart without being in his car seat. I believe he likes the freedom.

The living room of our condo at Sugarloaf. Yes, it was gorgeous. No, none of us wanted to return home. The condo was comprised of two stories. S and ML generously allowed us to have the top bedroom. The condo could be divided into two condos as our 'bedroom' had two doubles beds, its own small living room and television, a bar fridge and bathroom. We spent all of our time on the main floor in front of the gas fireplace though.

DH and I split days; he skied in the mornings and I was out in the afternoons. Ski lessons were included in our condo package (as well as lift tickets and full access to the fitness facility. We felt we got a great deal for the money we paid) so we all took lessons. I was the only beginner beginner though.

I had to get at least one other 'quasi-knitted' shot in here. This is Iain playing with one of Mommy's socks. Grandma knit them for Mommy. I really should do an exposé on Mudder's knit socks. I have about a dozen of them and, I daresay, DH has more. We are very spoiled and love the socks (and Mudder of course) to bits! Apparently they are now Iain approved as well ..

The built in high chair at our condo. DH's squadron at the base here at 14 Wing Greenwood is having a beard growing contest for Winter Carnival. DH is looking decidedly scruffy. It comes off this week. I can't wait...

My first time on downhill skis. Ever. I was so pleased to finish the week with a smile, no broken bones, and now being able to say that I can ski! As you can see, the weather was gorgeous. We got to ski four out of five days - the hill was closed on the Wednesday due to high winds - and three of those days were bright and sunny. The last day, Friday, was overcast and I ended my day skiing on the mountain in heavy snow. It was wonderful!

One of my concerns about skiing/snowboarding is my fear of heights. I'm terrified of looking down a hill and of using the lifts. For some reason, the lifts didn't scare me this trip. I'm on the left and my instructor, M, is on the right. I forgot to ask her permission to post this but, as you can see, she is hardly discernible so I decided to use the picture anyways. I must say, the instruction at Sugarloaf was excellent - we all took advantage of the lessons included with our condo package and we all learned a great deal. I was also very impressed with their committment to safety. DH and I took snowboarding lessons in Europe. Safety standards are a little different there and I felt much more comfortable taking ski lessons at Sugarloaf than I ever did in Europe.

This was Iain's first bus ride! Yes, there were a lot of firsts for Iain on this trip.

Iain's very first time in the pool. He looks okay in this shot but he was actually very concerned each time we got too far down in the water (e.g. his chest level). The pool was at regular pool temperature and I suspect his concern was mainly due to the fact that he simply found it too cold.

Playing on the floor at my cousin's log cabin home on Darlings Island, NB. We stayed here on our way to and from our holiday and had a great visit both times. Although it looks like it, Iain isn't crawling yet in this picture. He had mastered pushing himself backwards and has himself stuck under the couch!

I didn't get any ferry pictures on the way back. I was feeling a little green so DH cared for Iain while I slept most of the way. It was a fantastic holiday. When we arrived home, both DH and I felt like we'd been gone a year. Although we hadn't wanted to leave Sugarloaf and our friends, we were happy to be back in Middleton.

It's a snow morning here in Middleton - yeah! You never know, maybe I'll get a chance to write another post again this week. Keep your fingers crossed for me!