5 And A Beagle

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." John Lennon

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Wonderful, but who knew it would obliterate all of the comments on my blog. Oh well - starting from scratch.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Sunday at the Farm 

Sunday afternoon was the 25th annual Sheep Fair at the local farm and my youngest and I spent a fun few hours there.

Border Collies put on a display of herding. Starting out with the ducks and then graduating up to the big guys. A mixture about a dozen sheep - young and old. Not unlike a bunch of people, this group of sheep had the energetic youngsters jumping to and fro trying to test the authority of the collies, and some cranky older ones that openly defied authority. A nip on the heals soon put them all in line

Here's Dani watching as they are herded into the pens. She's checking to make sure that while they're munching on the grass, they don't sneak a bite of her toes.

The fate that awaits them once they're herded into the pens.
I would think it would be a relief for them to get shorn after the late May weather we've been having. Although the temperature on Sunday was a little closer to normal for the season, in the mid to low 20's,(mid to low 70's F) Friday and Saturday were in the mid to low 30's (high 80's F).
Time to wrap up the scarf, put the cowichan sweater on hold and start on a light cotton t-shirt for summer.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

An intro to #4 of 5 

My youngest asked why this was called 5 and a beagle. "There's pictures of the beagle, but there are no pictures of the *5*." So here's a picture of #4. Behind her mask...

The Artist
And her clay rendition of the remaining family members.
(Minus me for some reason. That's okay, I never did look good in clay)

and a final shameless showing of her artistic talent; the lunch she never seems to take to school.

I certainly can't take any credit for her artistic talents. I may be able to follow patterns, but when it comes to creating something out of a blob of clay or turning a blank piece of paper into a picture, I'm hopeless. She definitely has her dad's genes there.

Thanks to Dani for her tips on how to post multiple pics to the blog. I still have to learn more on the formatting, but it's a start.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Aunt Mary's recipe for May 

Another month, another of my Aunt Mary's recipes. If you haven't been to this site before or haven't delved into the archives (all 4 months of them) here is the post that started it all. This month it is a very simple yet very tasty barbequed chicken and cooked red cabbage.

Barbequed Chicken
1/4 c melted butter
1/2 tsp garlic sale (oops, I've been around Italians too long - I mean garlic SALT)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp mustard powder
Combine dry ingredients with melted butter. Brush over chicken. (I usually cook 2)
Cook in 400F oven uncovered for 40 minutes then cover and cook for another 40 minutes
Baste frequently.

Red Cabbage
3 to 4 medium apples, pealed and chopped
1 onion
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 medium red cabbage, shredded
In dutch oven, fry onion in oil until soft. Add shredded cabbage and apple.
2 c hot water
2/3 c vinegar
1 tblsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Cover and cook 2 hrs on medium/low heat until cabbage is soft

Volim te, teta Mitza

Monday, May 23, 2005

Before there was Clapotis..... 

There was...
...the frill. In the Spring 2004 issue of knitty there is a pattern for a beautiful wrap that uses a ravelled rib stitch to form a "frill" at the ends with a lovely lace pattern as the body. I was experimenting with the frill part and decided I'd try a scarf with just the ravelled rib. Then in the Fall 2004 issue of knitty, along comes the Clapotis. I haven't tried the Clapotis (although it seams that 75% of the knitting bloggers have) but the principle is the same. Knit and purl away then watch in excited anticipation for the unravelled stitches to transform your project. I haven't gotten to the unravelling part yet. This scarf is for my older daughter and although it now measures 60 inches, she would like it longer. I originally ordered 2 skiens of this yarn (Esslinger Wolle - Fidji) as an add on to some Noro that I'd 'won' on ebay and I wasn't too sure what I was going to do with it. Once I'd decided on the scarf, I soon realized that 2 skiens wasn't going to cut it. I contacted the seller and purchased her remaining 2 skiens. At 60 inches, I'm about 1/4 through the final skien. Of course when I ordered the second batch, I couldn't pay freight for just those two, so I had to get more stuff to justify (in my mind) the cost of shipping. I now have 10 skiens of Galway for a future felting project and some self striping yarn for socks. There's always a reason for getting more yarn isn't there. Why pay $7.50 for shipping 2 skiens when you can pay the same and get more. (Never mind the fact that the overall bill gets bigger with the more goods you buy)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Rosie the Robot 

"A domestic robot is essential for any family. Without a robot who will bring up the kids? Teach one how to drive a car? And someone has to press dinner every night."
I need a Rosie. Someone to wake the family up in the morning. Someone to make lunches, take the dog for a walk, take out the garbage, drive the kids to school, pick the kids up from school, drive the kids where ever they have to go after school, make dinner, clean up after dinner, do the laundry, get the groceries. All those things just get in the way of the fun stuff.
To my California backtacker. I've got the goodies together, I just have to package them and get to a post office. Should be Friday or Saturday. Of course, there's another thing Rosie could do if I had her.
To who ever (or is it whomever) has me .... just sew the material up like Santa's sack and slip in a domestic robot. I'll be happy. (Okay, maybe slip in a few stitch markers or maybe a set of double pointed bamboo sock needles.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It's Here!! 

My Backtack supplies have arrived. I now have a month to create something special for a mystery recipient.

How exciting to come home and find a parcel waiting for me. I think Miles has picked up the scent of another beagle. Could it be Tai? Thanks to Justine for the beautiful fabrics, ribbon, beads and cool thread. And thanks also for the cute bead markers - I love snoopy.

As Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany said to Katherine Hepburn's Eleanor of Aquitaine in Lion in Winter "I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We're a knowledgeable family." It is a little difficult to keep a secret identity with return addresses, isn't it. I know who you are, you know I know who you are ...... but at least _ _ _ _ _ doesn't know that it's being turned into something for her.

I've got some ideas, maybe there'll be some time this long weekend.

Justine, please e-mail me your mom's address. (dahp at mybc dot com) I'd like to send something your way, but I'm sure you don't need any more stuff to pack up.

Saltspring sounds like fun doesn't it? Sheep to Shawl - that I'd love to see. Maybe I'll try to squeak out a day trip.

Wednesday - mid week with a long weekend on the horizon. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Hamster on a Wheel 

Do you ever feel like there is just no way to make progress on the every growing list of things to do? Another weekend come and gone and I just don't feel like I accomplished much of anything beyond the necessary.

I did manage to find the time to go through a box of fabrics to put together the goodies for Backtack. In the process I found a couple of bear appliques to make a few more squares for Katie's quilt. The goodies on top of the box are on their way down south to the mystery backtacker.

I'm looking forward to receiving my package soon. I've got a few ideas, just hope I've got the time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Captured in Cross Stitch 

Three years ago this June, the 5 of us BB (before beagle) headed off for a month in Europe. Leo's nonna and most of his aunts, uncles and cousins are in Italy and this was the chance for our kids to meet them and to also see some of the sites Leo and I had seen many years BKB (before kids and beagle).

After paring down our possessions such that everything we needed could fit into our individual backpacks, we took off for the first stop - London. I wasn't too optimistic that the trip was going to be a success, when 1 hour into a 10 hour flight, my youngest decided she wanted to get off the plane. NOW. No wonder the mother in front of me had given her two young kids a big dose of gravol before the plane took off. Her two were sound asleep while mine was looking for the pull cord to tell the pilot she wanted off at the next stop. NOW. By the time we were set to land I had my head in the barf bag (just in case) and my daughter had hers out of necessity. Luckily, that was the worst experience of the trip, over and done with at the start. Once we landed and she was released from the confines of the plane, she was instantly fine. The recovery of my jangled nerves took a few hours longer.

We had a fantastic time in London, Paris (despite the encounter with pepper spray in the metro), Cologne, Lucerne, Munich and Salzburg. Traveling between cities on the train. At the mid-point of our vacation, we picked up a car and drove through the alps into northern Italy.

What an absolutely wonderful experience for the kids to see the small village where their nonni grew up and to meet all of the relatives they had heard so much about. Leo's nonna Rosina was 90 at the time we went over and I wanted to make something special for her after we had returned home. I found a local company on-line that takes a photo and creates a cross stitch pattern from it. So this picture is the gift for Nonna. This is her home. The original structure is over 400 years old.

I started the project in Oct/02 and finished in time to send it in May/03. Nonna Rosina is still going strong, she'll be 94 in December. There must be something in that mountain air.

When Leo and I went over in the early 80's, we always said we'd be back in 'a couple of years'. That couple of years stretched into 19. Hopefully we won't have to wait another 19 for the next visit.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Pearl-McPhees of Wisdom 

On Mother's Day, I received the gift of sleeping in. I had a wonderful breakfast prepared by the kids, a picture of flowers drawn by my youngest, a gift certificate from the LYS and a copy of "At Knits End". It was a nice relaxing day with a visit to my in-laws in the afternoon and dinner at my parents in the evening.

I've discovered that one of the fringe benefits of having a teen with a learners permit is they are always willing to drive somewhere. Yesterday, I had to make a run to the bank and my son volunteered to be the chauffeur.

I had the book in the car and so I tossed it to him to flip through while he waited for me to do the banking . I suggested he read some of the quotations, hoping that he might settle upon something like pg. 48. "Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." Albert Schweitzer. A little pearl of wisdom that would apply to his relationship with his (in his mind) annoying little sister. Or how about pg. 91 or pg.99 to reinforce us telling him of the benefits of going beyond the comfort zone? "The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare." Dale Carnegie "One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do." Henry Ford.

When I got back to the car, he had his quote of choice marked. "This is what I've been trying to tell you guys all along." he said with a sly smile on his face. The quote that caught his eye - pg. 73. "If the minimum wasn't acceptable, it wouldn't be called the minimum" George Muncaster.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Our son is headed off on a retreat next week with his grade 12 class. The last one for them as a group before they graduate and move on in June. The campus minister has asked that family and friends send letters of love and encouragement for the students to read while they are at the retreat called Palankas. This request came in the form of a letter in the mail about 3 weeks ago. These Palankas are to be kept a secret from the students and so I tucked the request away and ... forgot about it. That is until Tuesday on the way home from school. One of my son's friends was talking about how busy the next couple of weeks were going to be. School play, exams, games and the retreat. Suddenly a sick feeling came over me as I realized I'd forgotten about the letters. I had visions of my kid being the only one in the entire grade without any letters from loved ones. Another tally mark on the "it's all my mother's fault" scoresheet. I checked the letter from the teacher as soon as we got home and thankfully I hadn't missed the deadline. It was the next day, Wednesday. There was a frenzy of phone calls and e-mails to grandparents, uncles and cousins in Italy. I called the teacher the next day and managed to get a reprieve. Two extra days.

So here we sit, his Mom and Dad. How do you put into words on paper, what you've felt for the past 18 years. What you wish for the many years to come. It's quite the task, but I'm glad the school has asked for this. Without such an opportunity, some things don't get said, and a very special person in your life doesn't always know just how you feel about them. Sure they know their parents love them, but do they know what their fondest memories are, what they are most proud of, what they desire for their future? Plus the graduate gets a sense of just how important they are in so many lives and how many people are there to support them through thick and thin. I suspect along with the letters, the teachers will also be handing out a box of kleenex.

I have to confess I took a peek at a few of the letters. I actually couldn't help but see the one my brother wrote because he e-mailed it to me at work. I was glad to be in an office upstairs because I went from laughing to crying. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when the kids get their packages.

On a different note, here is a pic of the quilt squares my youngest and I have put together for Katie. Check out her website. She has a wonderful idea to put together a quilt to take along on the 60km Walk to End Breast Cancer in August. She's hoping to collect 380 blocks so that she can make the quilt. All the info is on her website. These are a few of the simple ones we did with a stencil and some fabric paint. I'm hoping to do a cross stitch of the ribbon a little later.

Well, that's it for now. Lots of writing going on tonight. Hope you all have a great weekend and Happy Mother's day to all the mothers out there.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Teddy Bear Picnic - Part II 

A little over 2 weeks ago I went to the final Teddy Bear workshop. Another relaxing Saturday spent at Maureen B's house with a fun group of women. All of us being taught the fine art of stuffing (who knew so much fiber fill could fit into the head of a bear) and stitching by the creator of these bears, Barbara Irwin Shynkaryk. Her kits are fantastic and she is a great teacher. It was such a neat experience to put the pieces together and see them come "alive".

I've been trying to take care of the finishing touches over these past few weeks, but something keeps getting in the way. I think it's called life.

This weekend they are off to their new homes. One is for my brother who just turned {}0, and the other is for his girlfriend who just turned []0. I'm hoping to make a little medallion for each of the bears that will have a picture of 'W' and 'C' when they were little. Something called image transferring that I hope to learn.

Aren't these "blogs" amazing? It all started with a surf on the web for scarf patterns....
My so-called scarf - - Manos Del Uruguay - - Life's a Stitch - - an invite from Li of Life's a Stitch to Maureen B's - - and whoosh - - a dam burst of creativity.

Sunday, May 01, 2005




What a way to spend a Friday night. This is the first time I've seen U2 in concert and wow what a show. The crowd didn't sit down all night.

We had pretty good seats, the last row before the box suites and just a little to the side of the stage. I had gone on line the morning the tickets went on sale and in the space of 5 minutes, if that, the first show was sold out and I was so disappointed. Thankfully there was a second show added and 3 tickets came up as available. It said they were "beside stage", but I figured there was no sense in trying for anything else, I was lucky to get those. I was hoping we wouldn't be getting a peek-a-boo view, but they were great. The way they had the stage configured, I don't think there was a bad seat in the house.

I thought I'd sneak in our cell and take a few pictures, but my son went the night before and he said to take the camera. Everyone was taking pictures. I'm so glad we did. We got some fairly decent pictures and since our camera takes small snipets of video, my husband even got some great video footage.

I've been a fan of U2 for at least 20 years. Well, okay, I didn't much care for Zooropa and Pop was so, so. But Joshua Tree was one of the first CD's we bought (instead of an LP) and listening to it was something that kept me sane through the sleep deprived state of new motherhood all those years ago.

I wish I had gone to see them live in the years they've come to town. I sure hope there's another chance in the next few years. Of course if I was independently wealthy, I'd just hop around the globe and catch their shows in other cities. No such luck. But I sure was lucky this past Friday.


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