Tuesday, January 29, 2008

love comes in many forms

Mmm. . . look what was delivered today -- fresh Peruvian fair trade Cafe Pangoa, espresso roast of course. All dark and silky, it smells of Heaven. Must be love.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

vertical snowmen are so 2007

In honor of the snow yesterday (I'm trying) Nicole and I made a snowman. Well, technically with the eyelashes and fancy pendant necklace I'm pretty sure it was a snowGIRL. Anyway, I didn't have time to take a picture of it yesterday so I headed over this afternoon to get the shot. As I approached the driveway I was disappointed -- it looked like our snowy creation had lost her head. But on closer inspection, turns out she was just having a good stretch.

At first I thought she was doing yoga (she is a west coast citizen after all) but Coli had an even better suggestion. She thinks our snowgal is doing the YMCA and I have to say, she's got a pretty good C going on there. Who knew we were building a snow-retro-party-girl? She's all set for good times in 2008. And so are we :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

blue sky baby

After an unexpected sprinkling of snow yesterday, this morning we woke up to this. Blue skies. I had just about forgotten what they looked like. It was so clear that on the drive to church I saw mountains I'd never seen before. I knew we had peaks on two sides out here. Turns out that on a clear day we have them on three. It was hard to keep my eyes on the road.

I was hoping to take my shiny new toy out for a spin and see if I could shoot a panorama but I couldn't quite get the right vantage point for a clear shot. I tried the airport, but the ground dips just there and the buildings got in the way. Pesky buildings. I headed to the park at the end of the street but the bird's nest shot above turned out better than any of the mountain shots. Trust me, this does not do it justice:It turned out to be a good day for experimenting, just not one for having much to show for it. I'm running into trouble with lighting when shooting indoors. I don't know yet if it's a setting I've got wrong or if the factory issue flash just isn't going to cut it. I've been trying to get a photo of the camera itself and so far this is the best I've got:

And yes, it's photoshopped within an inch of it's life to try and salvage something from what was a not-great shot to begin with. Note to self: if you're going to take self portraits of the camera, clean the mirror first. There's very little detail on the camera itself, but hey, my nails look great :) I was pretty impressed to see anything at all. In the initial viewing this shot was a black square with a flash spot in the middle. They say experience is a great teacher. Good thing, I've got a lot to learn.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

how to keep tulips upright

I love tulips and here on the west coast we get these trumpeted harbingers of Spring much earlier than we should. I can never resist them. But year after year I bring them home and the same thing happens -- they fall over. I've tried tall vases, short vases, pennies in the water, a pinhole just under the head. Nothing has worked until just the other day.

I saw the first tulips of the season and had to have some. I asked the florist, Lucy, if she had any tips on how to keep them upright. She did and as you can see from the photo above it worked! (The tulips had been indoors more than 24 hours at the time the photo was taken. It's now another six hours later and they haven't moved.) Let me share her wisdom.

Lucy's failsafe tulip method:

  1. Choose the straightest tulips you can find. If they're curved to begin with, this isn't going to work.
  2. Do not trim the ends when you get them home.
  3. Place 3-4 pennies per bunch in the vase (there are 4 bunches above so 16 pennies).
  4. Fill the vase with cold, COLD water. Use ice water from the fridge if you have it.
  5. When you change the water, keep using cold water.
According to Lucy what usually happens with tulips is that they suck up too much water which weighs down the head and bends them over. The combination of a sealed end and cold water keeps water intake to a minimum and will prolong the beauty of your cut tulips. (Adding a foundation plant like daisies also helps to give them something to lean against.)

Pretty, pretty, pretty. Does this mean it's Spring?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I won!

This past weekend Gord & Torrey got me hooked on, I mean introduced me to, the wonderful world of online Carcassone. (The first one's always free...) After being beaten resoundingly by both of them (and several bots) today at lunch I finally, FINALLY won a game. Check it out. That's a 64 point city close to the middle and it's mine, all mine.

If you enjoy the traditional tile version of the game and want to play with people who don't live in your house, I highly recommend AsoBrain's online games. They're free, played in real time with a private chat for each game and you don't even get bombarded with lame-o ads. Settlers also available.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

christmas in pictures

I have a head full of cotton wool courtesy of my first official cold/flu of the new year so this post is mostly pictures. (And apparently I've also reverted to British-isms. Cotton wool? Surely I haven't called it that since I was six.)

This Christmas was awesome! For the first time in several years I got to go home to Ontario to spend the holidays with Mom & Dad and even better, I got to bring a few friends along. Kendra came, along with her sister Shannon, her husband Gord and their two girls Amanda and Nicole whom I have the great privilege of calling my extra nieces.
While in Ontario, we headed out to historic Petrolia to tour the Victorian houses. It had been just the right mix of cold and wet and the whole town was edged with the most amazing hoar frost.

It was great to get outside after a couple of days indoors, eating, talking and celebrating.

While at the farm, I even got to visit with my favorite fur-person.

It's amazing how much you can miss someone so small. I can't wait until I can have her back with me out west. It made my heart happy to spend some time with her and to see with my eyes what I've known in my heart -- that she is well loved and taken care of in the interim.

No trip to Ontario would be complete without a visit to the world famous Niagara Falls so well all piled into the van and off we went. I've seen Niagara many times before, but it is always spectacular and somehow, always a bit of a surprise.

After a morning at the Falls we took the wine route over to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The teddy bear store I remembered from my last trip there is gone, but Maple Leaf Fudge is still going strong. Thank goodness for that. We had a superb lunch in an Irish tea house and then Dad went on walkabout while Mom and I browsed the shops. Is there anything more wonderful than walking around an interesting place with your Mom on a Thursday afternoon when everyone else is at work?
After Niagara we headed to Toronto to catch a flight to Winnipeg. Kendra and the Wall family went to visit Gord's parents and I stayed in the city for a few days with Janie, Dave and Corrina.

I swear that kid gets cuter every time I see her. Corrina's second implant is all healed-up and working well and I am continually in awe of her progress. I cannot imagine how much work Dave & Jane have put into getting her this far. We spent a lively few days playing games -- I won Pass the Brain but lost Carcassone. (I did tell Dave that I knew enough to play, just not enough to win. Somehow my farmland always ends up being useless. Or Dave muscles me off it and I don't notice til we go to add it all up.) Janie showed me how to make pendant necklaces from Shrinky-Dink of all things. I'll post picks once I've got them completed.

While in Winnipeg I learned, once again, that prarie cold is a whole new universe of cold. When Dave and I walked down to Don's Photo to go camera shopping (more on that in another post) I told him I didn't want to wear the hat with earflaps because "I don't really do hats". It was less than 24 hours later that I was pleading for the hat and Dave, being a merciful brother, handed it over without saying a word.

New Year's eve I donned three pairs of pants, the hat, a scarf & mitts to go and watch the fireworks over the Forks. And it was worth it. The next day we headed over to friends of D&J's for brunch and sledding. Great waffles, good times.

I know I put way too much highlight on this one, but I loved the blue snow.

I love that not only is she not holding on, she's got her hands in the air. Cause, you know, everything's more fun with your hands in the air. She's Dave & Janie's kid for sure.

I tried to get a 2008 in the snow picture but it turns out that snow is way harder to photograph than sand (see last year's shot). The only way to get it to show at all was to throw the shadows and highlights way out of balance. Too bad, cause the house in this shot is amazing and you can barely see it.All in all it was a pretty close to perfect Christmas and we all came home tired and happy. Sleep well sleepy girl. I'll see you soon.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

great start to 2008

I forgot to draw '2008' in the snow and it's too cold to go back outside now (I'm in Winnipeg) so I think I'll use this shot to usher in the new year. I bought myself a shiny new camera yesterday. This shot isn't from the new toy, but it's still one of my favorites from this trip. Thanks to Dave & Jane for the loan of your PowerShot.I hope your year is off to a great start. I need to get back to reading the manual.