Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I've noticed that Patty has been going to the basement on the iMac to make funny tapping sounds more often. I know because I usually keep her company. She really enjoys it when I chase something she calls a cursor around the flat thing on the desk, especially when my paws hit that fun keyboard thing and I get to type on my own. Liberating! I usually sleep up on a couple of boxes next to her so that I can keep an eye on her whilst having a bath. Baths are very important. If you haven't had one yet today, you might want to think about it. I find at least six a day is good. A nice round number. Naps are important too.

Can't we get some sensible cat napping mood lighting
around here?
My name in Angel and I am a cat. I like to think of myself as 'the' cat in this house but there's another feline named Bella who was here before me and I am pretty sure she thinks she is 'the' cat. She's bigger than me but I can hold my own so this wouldn't be the first point we've agreed to disagree on.

Patty found my draft and insisted that I add a couple of pictures of Bella. Here's
the first one. I'm in the next picture. Ignore this one and move on.
In October of 2013, I came to live with Patty, that man and those three smaller two legged creatures who terrify me one minute and then charm me by trying to squeeze the stuffing out of me.

There's a hierarchy of toys around here. The small two legged creatures
get them first and, when they've grown out of them/gone to bed,
I get them. 
I was a stray and rescued by a group called Heavenly Creatures. They're pretty cool. Patty didn't know it when she answered a Facebook request for an urgent fostering subsequent to my being spayed but, if she and Heavenly Creatures hadn't intervened, I was going to be 'put down'. I'm not entirely sure what that means but it sounds pretty grim. Luckily, Patty and that man had a spare bedroom for me to stay in while I recovered from the surgery.

My temporary digs. Not too shabby.
Going from a cage that was so small I was using my litter box as a bed (at the pound Heavenly Creatures rescued me from) to a cat hospital and then to Patty's spare room was a weird experience. I really didn't know what was going on. However, I managed to cope pretty well. In the spare room I had my own window to look outside along with many many surfaces to lie or play on. My favourite was the rocking chair.

Me on my rocking chair getting the attention I deserve.
Even though everything in my life had changed I really love people and Patty and her family came to visit me in my room lots.

Patty and that man weren't sure if they were going to adopt me or not at first because it depended on how I got along with Bella. She is another calico cat like me, though her hair is much shorter, and thinks she's the boss of the house. I guess she was until I came along. I stirred things up for her, that's for sure! I like nothing better than to sneak up behind her and pounce. After the first few weeks of getting to know each other, we rarely hiss at each other anymore but we do play fight and we LOVE to chase each other around. Well, I love to chase Bella around. I can't be bothered to find out if she enjoys it or not.

The obligatory second picture of Bella...

One of my favourite parts of living with Patty and her family is the bird window. That's right. They have a BIRD window. The only thing better would to be able to get outside and get a taste…but Patty won't let me. Le sigh. That man put up a bird feeder right next to the back window and the patio door for the cats of the house to have a bit of entertainment. Well, that's my interpretation of why he put a bird feeder there anyways. Bella and I spend hours on the cat tower, window sill or lying on the mat in front of the patio door hunting birds. It gets pretty boring when the bird food has run out so I get Bella to go tell Patty that the food is empty. Bella is really, really good at that. Sometimes Patty's a bit stunned and thinks it's us who need the food but she usually gets our point eventually. I LOVE looking at those birds. A squirrel also lives close by too. He's quite saucy though and tells me off through the glass of the window. I don't mind. He really has no idea who he's up against and I might manage to sneak out…eventually.

Patty regularly calls me 'Checkers'. Her family had a black and white cat with long hair like mine before I came along. Apparently she died over the Labour Day weekend in 2013 and Patty was quite upset about it especially as Checkers was such a young cat and the cat doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. I wish I could have met her too but if she had still been alive when Heavenly Creatures found me, I'm not sure I would have come to live with them or not. It's too bad though. She sounds like she was a really nice cat.

The time I almost got packed in a box of
hand me down clothes.

I'm a really nice cat too though Patty sometimes says I was misnamed. I'm not sure why. I mean, isn't it my job to chew on everything in sight (and what's a dog bone anyways? Patty keeps telling me she's going to get me one), climb into obscure and dark places and walk on any surface in sight no matter how high or low? I am a cat after all! Sheesh! However, I have noticed that every time she gets mad at me, she's laughing at me too. Apparently she and that man have a soft spot for bratty cats.

Me being a clean laundry menace.

Well, that's me. I thought I should introduce myself on this thing Patty calls a 'blog'. I really have no idea what that is but it's a public forum and I'm such a special cat so I really thought I should introduce myself to the world.

Off to have another bath. Or a nap. Or both. Meow!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday Fun

On weekends where when we actually have two days with nothing organized (e.g. birthday parties), DH and I take turns letting each other sleep in. It was my turn on Sunday and I got a great lie in before a boy came and jumped on me and said,

"Mommy! Mommy! We're going to the beach!" It was Eldest who said I might be able to go too but he had to check with Daddy first to make sure it was okay. Cute kid.

DH was a Scout and a military man. Can you tell? Nice tee pee!
I got up and got ready without really checking the weather outside. I'm glad I didn't because it was misty and I probably would have balked at the idea of taking the boys down on the beach for a cold outing and that would have meant us missing out on an absolutely fantastic day.

There was a bit of mizzle (that's mist and drizzle combined. Like the Inuit have many, many words to describe snow, Newfoundland and Labradorians have a lot of different words to describe rainy weather conditions) when we first arrived but the boys were happily decked out in sweaters and rubber boots.

Any trip to the beach entails packing a change of clothing for each of them, which we needed. Eldest learned that rubber boots fill up with water! He was pleased to put on a warm and dry pair of socks and his winter boots after that.

What began as a simple trip to the beach turned into a fire and picnic at the beach before we'd left the house so DH had a box of dry wood, matches and starter (aka cardboard) ready to go. We brought hot dogs (I'm not a huge fan but there's nothing like a fire roasted hot dog), baby carrots, snap peas, apples, homemade peanut butter cookies and, most importantly, marshmallows! No one went hungry.

After a wonderful time around the fire and really, really appreciating its heat (it was 4C yesterday) we headed out for a hike on the East Coast Trail heading in the Torbay direction.

You can barely see a brown trail head sign in the distance up
on the grass.

During the summer of 2008, DH, Eldest, Middlest and I walked from our house along the trail headed towards Middle Cove Beach where we stopped for a picnic.

Looking back at Middle Cove Beach and an impressive fog bank
rolling in.
We managed to make it to the section where we'd previously turned around so have now completed the Motion to Middle Cove Beach section of the trail in its entirety.

Youngest was a little trooper, holding onto DH's hand and singing the whole time to and from.

I had a vice like grip on Middlest (the runner/escape artist of the family) for most of the trip. This picture gives a good indication why.

I can't wait to go back and see this on a bright day.
Youngest kept looking for whales and screaming that
he'd seen one each time a wave crested.
Our section of the East Coast Trail really shows off some of the coastal forest that we are lucky enough to live next to and one that I grew up with.

Lichen covered branches.
I am so happy to be sharing this with my former British Columbian husband and making this landscape a part of our children's childhood too. I really think that the landscape you grow up with shapes your soul and has an impact upon you your entire life.

The Spruce trees are stunted and moulded by the wind.
The longer we stayed, the more the fog rolled in but the mist let up after the first 45 minutes or so at the beach. It was neat - an extremely foggy day but dry, dry, dry. Eldest even stayed outside to play more when we returned home.

After. Still dry though.
Sadly, Middlest started to feel off during our picnic, did the hike well but then spiked a fever when we got home. I think it's another ear infection. That poor child and his ear infections (he has his second  (and third set on one side) of tubes in his ears).

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Eldest asked me the other day which of our seasons was the longest. I told him that the four seasons are split up into three months each (please tell me where in the world that actually applies. I remember one "Spring" in Ottawa when we had a 30C heatwave in May and Summer began). Then I had him count the months in this Winter season. The snow started in November and it is now April. He decided that Winter must be our longest season and I would have to agree on him. Despite the fact that March and April are hard because I am longing for more warmish sunshine (this year we had some gorgeous bright blue days with diamond snow and the best sliding in our back yard that we've ever had so this wasn't a bad year sun wise) and spring green on the grass, I don't think I could live somewhere full-time that doesn't actually experience clear seasons.

In 1996 DH and I went to Barbados for our honeymoon (pre-honeymooon actually as we went in May and got married in July. We were posted to Cold Lake, AB three weeks after our wedding, I was starting the field placement of my Masters program in September in St. John's; there was really no other time to go on a honeymoon. Mudder thought a honeymoon before the wedding was eminently sensible. She said something to the effect of going and having a good time and, if you didn't like the guy, you had time to dump him before it was official. Such a sensible woman! Considering what a witch I am in heat and humidity and that Barbados experienced both during our two week visit, it's a wonder that her plan didn't backfire and he dumped me on the way home instead! But, I digress…). Each morning one of us would get of bed, throw open the curtains and announce the weather with satisfaction during the initial few days.

Day one: "Blue sky, one cloud on the horizon."
Day two: "Blue sky, one cloud on the horizon."
Day three: "Blue sky, one cloud on the horizon."
Day four…and so on.

Frankly, it got a little boring. Don't get me wrong. Barbados is an island paradise and I hope to return some day. Warm aquamarine waters,  lush foliage, white sandy beaches, the 'Highland' area reminiscent of the Scottish highlands plus palm trees, you get the idea. It is an idyllic place. But when you're used to living somewhere where if you don't like the weather you can wait a minute for it to change, the Barbadian weather was a wee bit, dare I say, monotonous?

Back to the reality of weather in our fair area of province of Newfoundland and Labrador during the Winter of 2013-2014 where we scored very high in snow fall (loved that!), the white stuff has officially taken a beating.

From this...
The melt had already started by the time I took these pictures, believe it or not.

to this.
to these.
It took one and a half days for the majority of the snow to go. There are likely a few small patches of snow underneath the shaded areas of thick trees but out in the open, the earth is once more exposed.

One fantastic thing about a heavy winter snow is that all that white stuff offers such a wonderful insulated layer for the plants underneath. That has been a worry for me the previous winters as our lawn especially gets harsh treatment from the salty winter gales. These leaves introduce our first batch of tulips, a rather pitiful bunch of 15 or so but still...

We are heavy into the RDF (that's 'Rain Drizzle and Fog' for you CFAs) portion of the early Spring season here now and that's okay by all of us. No more snowsuits. We have moved into winter coats and rubber boot season with the occasional reality smack down from Mother Nature like this past week when we had flurries and freezing rain. No spring in this province would be complete without them!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Week Before Easter

The week before Easter included painting an Easter tree at the MFRC. We go there twice a week - it's our second home!

Enjoying Spring flowers. I love tulips and this colour combination is one of my favourites.

Our first supper meal outside in 2014 as requested by the boys. You can see that it had cooled down from a 17C degree day at supper time. Still, it was WONDERFUL to be out in the fresh air listening to the Spring bird song.

The snow disappeared in a day and a half.

A brave little tulip that pushed itself up (and it has siblings!!!) through the snow in hopes of some warm Spring air.

A bleeding heart plant also pushing its way up through the soil and mulch. My rose bush has buds on it too.

Quick and cute Easter treats for teachers and friends from this Lacy Crochet pattern. I can whip up one of these, including weaving in the ends and tying on the hanging string in about ten minutes. An excellent beginner crocheting project with quick and satisfying results.

I made up these for Eldest's classmates. It was REALLY hard not to eat all the eggs myself before I filled the bags.

From our house to yours, have a wonderful Easter weekend.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Although winters usually seem long, the winter of 2013-2014 has seemed even longer with broken records for snowfall amount (loved it!), cold (-15 degrees C and lower which is unusual for this part of the province), school closures due to snow storms and power outages. Starting over the Christmas holidays, our province experienced rolling black outs for the first time and many of us were outraged by what seemed a lack of common sense on the part of our power providers, a scheduled servicing of a generator for December (because God knows it never gets cold here in December. That's dripping sarcasm in case you can't tell) for example and other mistakes (if you could 'see this coming' then why couldn't the public have been asked to conserve energy much, much earlier and potentially have avoided the mass black outs that frustrated and potentially endangered many people across the province?). Mudder went to visit her sister in Mount Pearl for a 'sleep over' for a night, returning five days later when the power was back on and the roads cleared from the ongoing snow storms. I was starting to fear we were entering another Ice Age.

In January of 2013, we lost our power for five. Solid. Days. That sucked. When DH and I lived in Goose Bay, Labrador, we often lost power. Lightening strikes in the summer and winter storms sometimes created vicious conditions for power generating stations. When we lived in Middleton, NS, our house came with a power generator as Nova Scotia is not immune to the occasional and devastating hurricane and the havoc they wreak. We experienced power failure in Kanata too.

DH out with the snow blower after only one of our winter storms.
Our snow blower was WELL used this year. Even by me.
This is Canada's most Easterly province jutting out into the North Atlantic so I suppose we have to assume the occassional weather smack down by Mother Nature. In anticipation of the trend continuing, DH and I decided in the Fall of 2013 that rather than investing in a generator that would provide power and only be used a few days in any given year (and not necessarily each year) we would invest in a wood stove that would not only help us out with being a heat source when the power was out but something that we could enjoy for many months of the year. 

To that end, DH and I started discussing where in the open concept kitchen/dining room/living room the wood stove would go. My WIPs (works in progress) are generally quite small. DH takes on the big ones.

Getting started.
Looking good. The installers can come back and
attach the stove as soon as the hearth is finished.
We will eventually have a small shelf (mantle) on the
back three sides of the post.
A close up of the stone. We love it and stuck to the design
principal of using a finish that reflects the landscape surrounding
us. We have rocks in our backyard just like the rust ones and slate
is very common here.
The hearth slate was a bit of a coup. It came from left over roofing
tiles from the freshly built home we lived in in Germany. A
beautiful and sentimental touch.
The last week has seen us spot our first robin in the front yard which is always a welcome sign. The snow is melting, the backyard muddy and Spring fever is running rampant through our household of boys. Too bad flurries are back in the forecast for tonight. I'm really getting tired of the same old, same old weather forecast.

The grass of Spring.
A boy doing boy things: filling his pockets
with gravel.

Swinging! My favourite!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Happiest Hooking

Before Christmas, I managed to do something that I have not had time to do in years - volunteer to teach a class. I taught an introductory rug hooking class which 'forced' me to hook some Christmas ornaments on a deadline (November is well in advance for me). It was an awesome feeling. I think all of the ladies who attended (don't men want to be hookers too?) had a really good time and I really enjoyed teaching again.

Students were given the choice of hooking one of the following designs and I made up kits in advance. The most popular choices were the Jelly Bean Row house and the stocking. 

The gorgeous handmade button came from a newish
local store here called FiberLilly. They have the most
beautiful stock.
It is a little hard to see - this is a sheep.

Hooking with a deadline gave me incentive to finish up another project that has been in my 'to finish' pile for over a year - my largest hooked completed project at only 12" X 12". I managed to get an impressive amount of hooking time in over Christmas this year (2013). We had a really quiet Christmas as each of the kids caught a bad cold with a fever. We were blessed to have Mudder visiting over the holidays as she spent her first Christmas in 45 years (I might get corrected on that number) away from Fadder who was in Colorado helping out my sister. Naturally, having Grandma around meant lots of extra help. 

Since the New Year I've found that if I have a project on my frame and the frame out for me to see, I usually manage to get a few minutes of hooking in a day. Not the greatest way to keep the counters clean but pretty;)!

Here are two projects completed by students in my class. Awesome!