Friday, May 31, 2013

Sold!!

Finally! When I got back from my walk on Wednesday I was shocked to see the "sold" marker on top of our realty sign. Our deal had to be closed by the next day, and we hadn't heard a word from our realtor since the buyers did the home inspection. Since I was still consuming leftover Worry Soup, I was quite sure there had been some kind of mistake. I phoned the realtor the minute I got in the door, and she confirmed it. The house has sold!!




The remainder of that day was spent in a sort of haze. I couldn't focus on a single thing, so spent several hours browsing online yarn shops and Ravelry, with some sort of stress-induced crazy plan to start knitting a Fair Isle vest that requires eleven different colours. Roughly two hours later I immersed from that knitting coma, emptied my shopping carts at Webs and The Loopy Ewe, and took a serious look around. The result has been a proliferation of Post-its.




Not only is there a move to plan for, there is also trip planning, baby knitting, and another huge project (more on that in a week or two) all needing attention. All of these things are good. Not just good, they are wonderful, exciting, much-anticipated events. But they all require something I won't have enough of if I spend any more hours planning a Fair Isle vest, and that is time.

In the midst of all this I have managed to finish my May Self-Imposed Sock of the Month Club instalment. It seems fitting somehow that this month's socks perfectly reflect the colours of the countryside that surround us here in Kamloops.


Opal Bicolor 5502
Whenever I wear them they will bring back fond memories of the sage and pines and sandstone hills that have been a part of my life for the past seven years.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Worry Soup, a Recipe

From my home to yours, a recipe you don't want to make any time soon.

Worry Soup

Ingredients:

Chaos
Uncertainty
Stamina
wine
chocolate

Method:

Chaos is a key ingredient in Worry Soup. A cluttered house contributes to a cluttered mind, and a cluttered mind will add a whole new dimension to any worry one might already be harbouring. My suggestion is to start sorting through your walls of bookshelves the minute you get an offer on your house. There is no need to be methodical or orderly. After all, the people have already looked at your house, so there's no longer any need to keep things tidy. More mess equals better soup.

Uncertainty is another important ingredient. To make the best possible Worry Soup you need quality uncertainty. Don't settle for something as mundane as not knowing what the weather is going to be like tomorrow. You need a big worry. Something along the lines of knowing the buyers need to remove their subject to sale and home inspection clauses, and not hearing a word from the realtor about setting up the necessary home inspection appointment. To make your Worry Soup more flavourful, be sure to add several days of this uncertainty to the pot.

Even the best chefs have made the mistake of thinking they didn't need an ingredient, only to find that in the end it was not only needed, but absolutely essential to the final outcome. This is where stamina comes in. Thinking I was past the "having to clean the house to perfection" phase, it never crossed my mind I would have to clean it one more time. My Worry Soup seemed to be quite tasty already, and I would have been happy to leave stamina out of the pot entirely. That was, until our realtor finally phoned about that house inspection we had been waiting to hear about. Apparently the buyers are doing the house inspection themselves rather than hiring a professional, which means they will be coming back. (Insert bad words here.) Too late, I realize I might have added a bit more chaos than I should have.

Seasonings can make all the difference when cooking, and Worry Soup is no exception. It is important to use a dash of wine. Repeat until the bottle is empty. Also, pinches of chocolate on a regular basis are essential. A word of caution here! When making Worry Soup the seasonings do not go into the soup pot. They are best consumed directly by the cook.

Let the soup simmer slowly, knitting often to keep the worries from boiling over.


EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket, Finley Fingering, colorway: Delphinium


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An Offer

I have gone back and forth about this all weekend. Do I say something, or should I wait? In the end I have decided to go ahead and cautiously announce that we have had an offer on our house. It all happened very fast, as these things have a tendency to do.

Saturday afternoon we went through the by now all too familiar routine of getting the house ready to show. (Poor Fergus and Jenny are going to spend the rest of their doggy lives thinking that every time we get the vacuum cleaner out it means they need to get in their crates because they are going for a ride in the car.) There wasn't anything that indicated this showing was any different than the other fourteen that have taken place since we put the house on the market, other than we thought they might have looked a bit longer than most. Yes, we spy.

Then Saturday night the phone rang, and it was our realtor saying there was an offer. I have to confess I had all but given up hope that the house was going to sell, so I spent the first couple minutes of the call not even hearing what she said due to the shock. So here's the thing. The reason I'm saying I am cautiously announcing the offer is because it isn't a done deal.

It is still subject to the house passing an inspection. Now the house is only ten years old, and other than the appliance curse has no problems that we know of. But now I find myself worrying about problems we might not know about. What if the house inspector finds termites? Or a leak we aren't aware of, and because we aren't aware of it, it has eaten away part of a wall? Or worse, a dead body buried under the storage room? (Okay, maybe the last one isn't all that realistic. I just finished reading a murder mystery last night.)

It is also subject to the buyer getting financing. Now I would like to assume that people who have driven all the way from Alberta to look for a house in Kamloops wouldn't waste their time by making an offer on a house they can't afford. But life has taught me that making assumptions has a way of getting a person in trouble.

Not one to turn away a good opportunity to worry, this morning I was met with a new one to add to my list. In the early hours as I headed out to the gym I glanced over at the neighbours and could not believe it. Now their house is up for sale! My immediate thought was oh no, the people who put the offer on our house are going to find out the one next door is for sale and want it instead. That thought followed me to the gym, and hasn't let go while I am here at the coffee shop writing this post. The subject removal date for the buyers is May 30, which gives me over a week to remain in a state of paranoia.

Knitting is such a great way to counter worry. So, as you can probably imagine, there's been a fair amount of knitting going on. This cute little hat was knit for a friend's baby, born earlier this month. Serendipity, knit with Spud & Chloe Outer. Details here.




I think this next week has the potential to set an all-time record for knitting production.


Friday, May 17, 2013

In Threes

I could become addicted to this baby knitting thing. The projects work up quickly. (Well, except for the baby blanket, which I would rather not talk about.) They don't require tons of yarn. (Well, except for the baby blanket, which I would rather not talk about.) And the finished item is always cute as a bug's ear. (Well, except for the baby blanket, which isn't close enough to being done to know if it's going to be cute.)

I actually finished this sweet little sweater in April, but it needed just the right buttons before I could count it as completely done.


Vancouver has a shop that carries nothing but buttons, which, not surprisingly, happens to be called Button Button. I sent the sweater with Rebekah, and her assignment was to go to this shop and find the perfect buttons.


I first heard about this button store from my daughter-in-law Diana. She was in Vancouver with some friends, and they decided to check the store out. After all, what knitter can resist the lure of a button store? Diana told me it was a great place, but while they were there the strangest thing happened. A guy came in, walked directly to a section of the store like he knew exactly what he was doing, immediately reached into one of the multitude of button containers, walked directly to the cashier, paid, and left the store.

A little while later when Diana and her friends commented to the cashier that the guy must have known what he wanted, she told them the strangest story. This guy comes into the store every day. And every day he walks over, gets a button, pays, then leaves the store. Note, I said gets a button. As in one. And if you think that is weird, wait until you hear this. It is always the same button. If it was chocolate I could understand. But a button?

In Threes, knit in Spud & Chloe Sweater, colourway Firefly.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Roundup

I am in the middle of Something I Can Not Talk About. Which means two things. The first is that it's hard to write a blog post when you can't write about what you really want to write about. The second is that I don't have a lot of time, due to the attention being given to this project. So here's a quick roundup of the past few days, and hopefully there will be a longer post next time.

Today is election day in BC. In the interests of keeping this a politically neutral blog, all I will say is I really wish they would have included nose plugs when they mailed out the voter registration cards. Yes, the choices are all that bad.

One nice thing about having your kids grow up and move out of the house is finally, after years of having to shuffle people around every time visitors arrived, we now have a designated guest room. This would be even more awesome if it weren't for the fact that it is also my designated craft room. Which would explain why one of the first things out of my mouth when our guests arrived last week was a warning to not open the closet in their room. Because...




Here is a picture of David and Fergus taken a couple of days ago. Don't be fooled by those innocent looks.




David just walked into the kitchen with his nose in the air and asked, "What smells like hippies?" I had to confess it was me. My neighbour is starting a soap and lotion business and she had just asked me to try out a new formula. After all our years living in the Kootenays, I am afraid we will always associate the smell of patchouli with some of the more colourful inhabitants of that area. The Urban Dictionary defines patchouli as:

A pungent scented oil usually worn by those who live an alternative or bohemian lifestyle. ie:Artist, musicians hippies, bikers, punkrockers etc.

They obviously overlooked knitters in their definition. My friend's soaps are amazing, and once she has her website up and running I plan to give away a bar on my blog, so stay tuned. And I promise, no patchouli.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Last But Not Least

Wednesday was the last full day we had with our friends from across the pond. Since they had a long drive ahead of them the next day (they are going on to Jasper and Banff) we decided to stay a little closer to home. What we as Canadians think of as a short jaunt, the English consider an epic adventure, so I thought they might not appreciate spending another day driving for several hours to sightsee. And, after all, there are many beautiful places just minutes out our front door. (Those would be Canadian minutes, not English!)

Paul Lake is only about 45 minutes from our house. I love the drive out, although the winding, pot-hole filled road leaves a little bit to be desired.




The lake itself is small, but very picturesque. There is a great hike that takes you to the top of the rock peak you see in the distance, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you asked) we didn't have time to climb to the top.




We took the back road from Paul Lake through to a rural area called Pritchard. And by back road, I'm talking about dirt and gravel. It made the rough road out to Paul Lake look like an expressway by comparison. It is worth it though because it eventually leads to this view.




I'm sorry the picture is a bit hazy. There had been a small forest fire the day before, and some smoke was still hanging in the air.

Much of the area surrounding Kamloops is ranch land. We stopped to get a picture of the hanging skull, and then noticed the barbed-wire sign spelling out the name Hall. That happens to be Gill's last name, so of course we had to get a picture.




Every time I drive this road I think to myself that I really must stop and get a picture of this old one lane bridge over the South Thompson River. I've finally done it!




That's the end of the journey. Thanks for coming along with us!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wells Gray

Tuesday we headed north on the Yellowhead Highway. This took us through the small community of Barriere. That name will forever be associated in the minds of BC residents with the fire that started there on July 30, 2003.

Fires in the summer in our province are a fact of life. Those of us who reside in fire interface zones live with this threat hanging over our heads during the fire season. To be honest, other than having a rough plan of what I would load into my vehicle should we ever be evacuated, I don't give it a lot of thought. In a way it's like when I lived in the Vancouver area. Sure, an earthquake could happen, but there was little point in going around worrying about it constantly.

I'm sure this is the way the residents of Barriere and the surrounding areas felt before the nightmare unfolded for them ten years ago. I'm also quite sure they will never feel that way again. By the time the fire had stopped burning, which took almost a month, over 3800 people had been evacuated, 26,420 hectares of forest were destroyed, and the final cost to fight the fire was just over 31 million dollars.




The cause of all this devastation? Someone threw a cigarette butt on the ground.

We stopped for lunch at a provincial campground along the North Thompson River. The sound of a woodpecker could be heard in the background, along with the river flowing by just a few metres from our picnic table.



Our final destination was Wells Gray Park. Unbelievably, neither Jay or I had ever been to the park before. All I could think as we drove through it was how stupid I have been for the last seven years. All of this was just a short two hour drive north of us? Now I almost feel like I don't want to move. This is what greeted us at our first stop.




Wells Gray has 20 waterfalls, and we were able to see three of them. This is Spahat Falls.




We all agreed Dawson Falls looks like a miniature Niagara Falls.




Helmcken is the most famous falls in the park, and it also happens to be Canada's fourth highest.




Our day ended sitting out on our back deck sipping some ice wine we picked up yesterday at the winery. A great ending to a great day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mission Hills

Monday we headed south to Kelowna. The road is very familiar to me, as it is the start of the long drive I take when I go to visit my mom in the States. It was very nice to be able to go at a leisurely pace and take some time to stop and enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way. Kalamalka Lake, just south of Vernon, has beautiful shades of blue-green running through it.




It is hard to see from a distance, so here's a closer look.




Kelowna is known for its orchards and vineyards. In spite of the fact we have lived here for seven years, we have never taken the time to go do one of the winery tours that are offered. This is the great thing about having visitors - it forces you to get out and see the local attractions you never quite get around to on your own.

The setting for the Mission Hills Winery is stunning. I have driven through Kelowna more times than I can count, but have never been in this section of the city. Now I understand why people say Kelowna is so beautiful.




The contrast between the temperature outside, which was a toasty 30C (86F), and the temperature down in the wine cellar was dramatic.




Of course, the best part of the tour came at the end when we got to sample some of the wine.



We each had two spoons in front of our wine glasses, one with cheese and one with chocolate. I made a trade with Jay. I got his chocolate and he had three of my four wine samples.

I'm almost embarrassed to own up to the next part of our day. We also stopped by a brewery. No tours here - we went straight for the samples. I am not a beer drinker, so I tried their cider.




It was nice, but I would rather have had chocolate.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Out and About

We have guests from England staying with us this week, so we are doing lots of local day trips. I thought you might like to "join us" as we show them around. Yesterday started right in our own neighbourhood. The first Sunday of May is the Annual Juniper Ridge Garage Sale. This garage sale is so well-known that people drive from communities over an hour away to look for bargains. Our quiet neighbourhood is transformed into a tangle of cars and people and noise, and I have to admit that I am always happy when the day comes to an end.

I found a couple of true treasures amidst the junk. This Cowichan fit John perfectly, and was a steal at just $40 for the hat and sweater. Sadly, he was not convinced. I'm sure Gill was very relieved!




I loved these native drums. A guy just up the street from us makes them, and they were works of art. Again, John was not convinced these would make good souvenirs.




In the afternoon we drove an hour east of Kamloops to the Adams River. This river is famous for its huge sockeye salmon runs in the fall. Just before we got to the trail along the river we spotted this osprey in its nest.




The hike along the river is beautiful. There were lots of wildflowers in bloom.




The sun was warm, the sky was blue, and the soothing sound of the water accompanied us the whole time we were walking.




It was fun to see our area through John and Gill's eyes. We sometimes tend to take the beauty that surrounds us for granted.




Thursday, May 2, 2013

House Gremlins

Yesterday was a very strange day. From the time I got up until well after the time I went to bed weird things kept happening. It all started in the morning when I went to plug something into the electric outlet in the bathroom and nothing happened. At first I thought the little heater I was plugging in was broken, but then I noticed the charge light on my electric toothbrush wasn't on. No big deal. Jay gets back in two days and he can fix it then.

In the afternoon I had taken the dry sheets off the clothesline and was making up the beds in the guest/stash room. Fergus came up to me and bumped me with his nose, which is a rather endearing trait he has. It means he wants immediate attention. Unfortunately this time he got more than he bargained for. As soon as his nose came into contact with me he got quite a big static shock and yelped like he had been mortally wounded. Then he spent the next fifteen minutes looking at me in a way that made me feel terribly guilty.

Later in the afternoon I was sitting at the kitchen table working on something. When I got up from the table I didn't notice Jenny, who was at my feet. I stepped directly on her tail and there was a repeat performance of the earlier yelping/guilt episode, just with a different dog.

Not long after the dog tail incident the Internet quit working. Our router can be finicky, and sometimes needs to be unplugged then plugged back in again to kick start it. I followed the usual procedure with no luck. Totally ignoring Einstein's observations about insanity, I tried this repeatedly for the rest of the evening but never did manage to get the Internet up and running. Thankfully I could still connect on my iPad through the 3G network, so wasn't totally lost. Which makes me think Einstein should have come up with a witty saying about addiction.

The top award for the House Gremlins' activity goes to the final entry for the day. I was almost asleep when a piercing sound came from the hallway just outside the bedroom. It was the smoke detector. However, there was no smoke. That didn't seem to matter. It kept up its shrill noise for a good three minutes. Worse than the noise was the reaction of the dogs. (They hate the smoke detector, and when I accidentally set it off when cooking they get so scared they end up peeing on the floor.)

It stopped on its own, which was good since I had no idea how to intervene. I was almost asleep again, and, you guessed it, the alarm sounded again. The first time it happened I was scared. This time I was mad. I headed downstairs and met David, who didn't look any too happy either, coming upstairs. You see, our alarms are hard-wired in, and if one goes off they all go off. We agreed on three things.

  1. There wasn't a fire.
  2. We had no idea what was wrong.
  3. We had no clue how to fix it.
Having come to these rather unhelpful conclusions, we both headed back to bed. There is a corollary to Einstein's observation, which is that not doing anything and expecting a different result is also crazy. The alarm went off again. The good news here is by then I was so wide awake there was no worry about my sleep being disturbed. I decided to do what we all do now when presented with a problem we can't solve. I Googled it. On my iPad using 3G because the Internet still wasn't working. It turns out I am not the only one who has had this happen.

The culprit is most likely one of two things. Dust or spiders. Well, it's not like we live in a dust-free house. We don't. But the alarms are in the ceiling. Our dust lives down at our level. Which can only mean one thing. A spider has crawled into one of the detectors. And I think I know which spider it is. The one I wrote about in this post hasn't been spotted in my car since I returned. Which means it probably made its way into our house by hiding in one of the bags I brought in from the car.

And just for the record, here's my April Self-Imposed Sock of the Month club instalment, finished on the evening of April 30.


Biscotte & Cie Felix, colourway Princese et 7 mailes