Maine or bust!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Confession time...

After my last few entries, someone remarked to me that I hadn't said anything about how my tomatoes were progressing, how my herb garden was doing, or anything of the sort. Well, there's a reason for that. My upstairs neighbor's cat is apparently some kind of contortionist in that he can climb the bricks down from the 3rd floor balcony to mine, and the furry little asshole destroyed all my plants. ALL of them. :(

The tomatoes rallied bravely, but they couldn't overcome him digging them up AND peeing on them repeatedly. The only thing he didn't touch was the chives, and they're sort of struggling along, but every time I'm away for a few days, they start dying off again because we've had practically no rain this summer. This depresses me greatly. I really wanted to have some plants and useful stuff this year. :( Instead, I'm still stuck buying everything at the store or farmer's market. Damn cat.

On the plus side, I have put up a good stock of jams for the next year. Strawberry rhubarb, mixed berry, pineapple... and I'm nowhere near done yet. So at least there's that. I'm also hoping to find time to make a few batches of pickled veggies (green beans, carrots, cauliflower, onions). I always have to consider how much storage space I have (like, none) when making stuff like this though.

Plus, in ten days, my friends Kari and Sue and I will be leaving for Stitches Midwest. I'm very excited! I'm hoping it cools down enough for me to get a batch of cherry jam done between now and then, since that's Rob's favourite of the ones I make. I haven't gotten too much knitting done, and I'm a bit gutted since my favourite LYS (janie h. knits) is closing its doors after six wonderful years! Now I know this won't be the last we hear from Miss Janie, but it's sad nonetheless that I can't just drop by Kettleman's Bagels for a mixed dozen and motor out to Perth to hang out at Janie's for an afternoon of knitting and chatting anymore. However, I think it's high time she gets her house (and her life) back after entertaining us for the last few years! :) Here's to retirement, may you and Allan enjoy it thoroughly, Janie!

If you're local to Ottawa and want to help Janie get rid of her stock, head on down any Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. There are maps and directions on her site (linked above). Cheers!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weekend adventures...

There was a lot of planning and running around involved last week. That's my excuse. Take it or leave it ;)

Friday after work, I rushed to get my daughter from daycare and dropped her off at her father's house, and then I hit the road. Rob's cousin Jen got married last November, and she and her husband were having a party to celebrate with the "northern" relatives (her family lives in Florida, his lives in Michigan). Rob was so excited that he was going to get to see cousins and aunts and uncles he hadn't seen in a few decades. He's been doing a lot of genealogy research (one of his many hobbies) and he's been trying to reconnect with family members he's either never met or hasn't seen in a while.

Made it to the border in pretty good time, pulled right up to an empty gate, and was basically waved through (he asked me where I was going, I said, "About five minutes down the road - going to a wedding tomorrow and my hotel is just up the street.") I got to the hotel about five minutes before Rob, his brother and the boys arrived :D The Baymont isn't a fancy place, but it was cheap and it was clean. Now, most people who know me are aware that I'm uncomfortable around strangers, and REALLY uncomfortable in crowds. But Rob's aunt and uncle were so warm and welcoming that they immediately put me at ease and we had a fantastic time! Scot's (the groom) parents have a gorgeous house in a rural area, and let me tell you... what these people consider a "small" party was fancier than any actual wedding I've ever been to (keep in mind, I've only ever been to my brother's wedding and my own).

We were surrounded by fantastic people, and I was even able to act mostly normal in an enormous crowd full of complete strangers :) The next morning, the boys had been invited to brunch in Detroit, and Rob and I were having so much trouble saying goodbye that I tagged along :) I have to admit that it makes me extremely uncomfortable when people pay for me, but I'm getting the idea that this is somewhat customary since it's the second or third time it's happened and no one else bats an eye. The drive back was long and brutal (but the 407? Damn... why have I never tried this before? It's like driving down the 401, but with NO CARS on it! Expensive, but well worth it for the 2-3 times a year I'd use it). The good part of meeting in an impartial third location is that neither of us has the "empty bed" syndrome that generally comes to the home turf holder at the end of a visit.

Having returned to normal life, I'm left wondering where the heck my summer went. It's nearly August, and I haven't accomplished any of the stuff I normally do in summer (like take the kids to Chicago for a week) other than make a few jars of jam. I feel like this whole year has gotten away from me somehow. I was kind of horrified to realize that I haven't talked to my friend Sylvie since OCTOBER of last yer - this is my best friend from high school - the person I was so THRILLED to have reconnected with last year. And I haven't talked to her for TEN. MONTHS. What is wrong with me? I haven't seen my friend Chris's new baby yet (or finished the sweater I was knitting for him, which is now likely outgrown). I haven't even seen my niece Ashley's baby, and I'm pretty sure he's either approaching his first birthday or has recently passed it. My sense of time passing seems ridiculously slow - like molasses trickling, but when I look back, an entire year has gone by. 

Now that the house is a bit more organized, maybe I can find a bit more time to pay attention to time going by (not too likely though... I bought Rob a card for our anniversary - which is Friday - weeks ago. It's sitting in the side pocket of the overnight bag I brought to Michigan, not yet written out or mailed *sigh* 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Not enough hours in the day...

There is so much fruit in my fridge... I found cherries at a ridiculous price, so I bought some thinking I'd make jam. Then the gooseberries out front all decided to ripen at once. Then I found a fantastic recipe for cantaloupe jam in my new Food in Jars cookbook (by Marisa McLellan - hers is one of the blogs I follow religiously), so I bought one of those.

So now I have all this fruit.... and it's so stinking hot, I can't do anything about it! Seriously, it's been hovering around a hundred degrees for a week now, with full humidity, and I can't bear the thought of boiling jam on the stove. Ugh.

SO. I think I'm going to have to invest in a cookie sheet (since my old one seems to have disappeared) so I can freeze all this wonderful fruit until it's perhaps not so devilishly hot outside. In this case, it means washing and pitting the cherries...

washing the gooseberries and removing the tails...

and probably making some yogurt popsicles with the cantaloupe, since it doesn't tend to reconstitute well from frozen...

I'm so bummed :( I had all these lofty plans to make jam and to bring it to Rob this weekend, and unless it cools down by about 10 degrees, there's no way I can do that :( I had thought about usurping my mother's kitchen while she and my dad are cruising around Alaska, but of course, their A/C is turned off as well. Bleh.

Granted, given the laundry, dishes and general tidying I need to do around the house before I leave, it's probably for the best that I won't be spending all my time making jam. That reminds me, I need to clean up the kitchen and pare down what's in the fridge so that nothing goes gross while I'm gone! *Sigh* Anybody want to give me an extra day they're not using? :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I got nothing...

Sorry. I have absolutely nothing to write about right now. Life is nuts and I miss Rob and that's about it. I'll try to come up with something clever and interesting tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Busy bees...

Wow... I haven't posted in over a week, and I never even noticed until last night when I was trying to remember when I had last blogged. I guess I've been a bit busy!

I'm now on my own at work, which means no safety net, no experienced person to run to when I don't know what to do, and no more relying on someone else. It's been.... oddly liberating! I really like and respect the lady I'm replacing, don't get me wrong. But now I feel like I can really sink my teeth into this job and figure out what I'm doing. 95% of the time I'm at work, I'm left to my own devices. It's a bit weird, because I'm used to having a bunch of people around, but I'm slowly getting used to it.

Things have been a bit crazy at home, but the kids' mattresses arrived, so they now sleep a LOT more comfortably (Zachary laid in bed for an extra half hour this morning - not because he was tired, but because he was comfortable LOL), and we've managed to keep up with the cleaning. I've got to make a bit more progress with the laundry, but one thing at a time. I made some more jam last weekend (blueberry rhubarb freezer jam) that was just delicious, and when I was at my mom's yesterday, I gave her a jar of blueberry and a jar of strawberry rhubarb, and my aunt got a jar of blueberry and the last of 2009's kiwi daiquiri jam. (I'm going to have to make some more of that, perhaps WITH the rum this time).

It's been hot. SO hot. So hot that it's too hot to knit in my apartment. Therefore, I've been dragging my knitting everywhere I go. Lunch today was half the sock flap for the first of the Riverbed socks. I'm sort of torn between finishing them and giving them to my daughter (who is 10... and her clothes tend to disappear if I don't pay attention) or frogging the whole sock and restarting with bigger needles so they'd fit me (which they were originally supposed to). All I know is that the suggested needle size absolutely doesn't work with the yarn weight it was meant to. I've done a few rounds on the full granny square blanket, and made some progress on Sadie's baby blanket (which is good, because Sadie had her baby over the weekend and he's ADORABLE!).

Skye's off camping with her birth grandmother for a week, and Zachary goes back to his dad's tonight, so I have a rare treat - I get to go to a mid-week knit night! This is very exciting because a) I miss my Tuesday night ladies, and b) I won't be at Friday's knit night because Rob and his son are coming up for the weekend! :D Oh yeah... Rob's coming up for the weekend, so I'll be sporadically available online (and off). This wasn't a planned visit, and we slapped this together on the spur of the moment, so I'm anxious to see how it turns out (this will also be the first time he's seen my place since the big cleanup). So that's what's been going on with me... anybody still here? :P