cracking me up when I’m not even there

I am fascinated by the different personality of each of my boys. The games of play and chase and wrestle, and how they take turns “beating each other up.”

And it seems that reindeer headwear is no exception.

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The other difference between the two is that Odin is a bull, and as healthy as a horse. Loki, on the other hand, will always be my sweet and constant worry. I have every hope that he will be completely adjusted and healthy soon, but we have dealt with kennel cough, a bladder infection, and now puking episodes. Even though I’m the type to panic, it’s hard to go to the vet when nothing he is doing is consistent. So, we are switching over to a different dog food, (pork and applesauce) and adding pumpkin to each meal. They absolutely love it, so no one is complaining, and I’m hoping to worry (a little) less in the weeks ahead.

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first advent

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The first of advent represents hope. I had a hard time with this advent day, it being the second year, to the day, that we had to make the decision to put Hart down. I remember the intensity of hope in those weeks prior; something I’d never known before. It was such a heartfelt desire, combined with a love that carried me through the uncertainty. Nothing I’m soon to forget.

We spent this first advent not lighting the candle (I hadn’t made any yet), but instead putting up our Christmas trees, both inside and out. The indoor tree was a little bigger than our usual, prompting some innovation when it came to putting the star on top. The lights and garland are on, but it is still waiting for the ornaments. The outside tree is beautiful; we put it in a tall planter, and accented it with cedar and juniper, silver twigs, red berries, and some silver and red balls as well.

Two taper candles and some tea lights were made after work yesterday. I was so tired, I could barely stand up. The Christmas trees are super heavy this year! And I was tired enough to be too impatient with a taper still cooling in the mold, and so I didn’t get the third candle out in one piece.

What I’d like to do tonight is grind the almonds for the kransekage. I’ve been invited to participate in a Christmas cookie exchange, and I’m so excited! But I’m prepping in stages. The blanching of the almonds was done two days ago; hopefully baking on Monday. This weekend is already booked…and Christmas is coming!

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he needed a pillow

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It’s late, and the humans are still awake, but the hounds are not. Loki needed a pillow because he was having a hard time keeping himself curled into a ball on the sheepskin rug.

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and a recap

We are getting our Christmas tree one day earlier than usual this year, which, except for last year, is always December 1st. Sunday seems like a good day, and I love the tree that I picked out.

I was commenting to my coworker, though, that every Christmas is different. Chadd and the girls always came to the shop to approve the tree selection before it was brought home. I’m not sure if we’ve just gotten lazy this year, or if it’s because I always do an awesome job, but the tree is coming home without a family inspection.

Maybe it’s because all the Christmas prep milestones seem to be rushing past me a little faster this year, or maybe we’re just more laid back. I don’t know.

We celebrated my fortieth birthday without much fanfare (thank goodness…I am not one for fanfare or surprises) and I did the unthinkable of making Chadd buy me exactly what I wanted for my birthday, which were tickets to a Jets game. The evening was amazing, the energy in the arena awesome, and on top of all that, they won.

The Fibre Retreat, which happened the weekend before my birthday, was just as nice (if not nicer) than last year. I mentioned to my sister in law that everyone seemed more relaxed this year, and she said not really, that the difference was that I hadn’t built and moved into a house right before this year’s retreat. And wasn’t fielding texts from Chadd that read, “Never leave me again.” It was chaos last year!

At the retreat, I tried weaving and needle felting. And came to the conclusion that I am a knitter. All good.

Almost all good. At the retreat, they had a mini workshop on steeking. Turns out I did my sister in law’s sweater wrong. So I have to do some fancy stitch work to reinforce stuff. It will be fine…and it fits. She tried it on last Saturday, and it’s beautiful.

I am working on a very easy shawl during car trips and down time, and I love it. It’s the Iwo shawl, and it’s the same one that I had to rip out because I had tried a yarn substitution. It took me more than a few rows to get a handle on knitting with the Berroco folio (slippery stuff) but the resulting fabric is worth it.

The shawl appears to be something Loki is exceptionally fond of, as he has dragged it, and the yarn out of the project bag on at least four separate occasions. And run off with it.

He’s feeling so much better since his course of antibiotics. It seems he had a bladder infection of sorts, and wasn’t showing any symptoms. (Until I found blood on the stairs, which had us immediately rushing to the vet). Poor little guy is doing so much better now that is all straightened out, that he’s running and bouncing around the house, and throwing toys in Odin’s face, trying to entice him to play. We love, love, love having two bassets!

And, just because I’m thinking of him, a photo of my best boy, Hart.

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floating snowflakes

These last two mornings have started with a slight skiff of snow; fine, tiny flakes falling softly. It’s cold out there, and the wind catches you off guard. I’m watching the snowflakes being blown across the deck, and I’m watching the clouds slowly drifting into the sunrise as the light shines through the snowflakes falling onto my neighbour’s roof. I have really big windows.

We weren’t in the house yet, this time last year. We were frantically getting ready for the move out/in date on the 25th.

Two years ago, this weekend, there was a lot of snow. We had gone to the Legislature for the Remembrance Day ceremony, and we stood in knee-deep drifts.

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We had never gone to see the ceremony, but I had imagined that it would be similar to the one in Ottawa. Instead, there was only the cannons. The explosions are astoundingly loud in person, and your imagination can’t take you that far into hearing them hour after hour, day after day.

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I am so glad that Sonja went to see Normandy and the Beaches with her school trip, and that my brother carried the Canadian flag for the ceremony there. One day, I would really love to be in Ottawa for the Remembrance Day ceremony.

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as long as it’s not pink

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Can you see the pink haze? Can you?

A while ago, I offered to knit a Gap-tastic cowl for a friend of Sonja’s. They are a super-incredibly popular accessory for the teenage crowd, and Sonja is happy enough with hers that she wouldn’t even mind another one in another colour. They are also done on 9 mm needles, so can be done zippity-quick.

Her friend requested pale pink.

The people who stock the shelves at my local yarn shop must feel the same way about pink as I do, because pink, pale or otherwise, was hardly to be found, and especially not in the yarn weight I was needing. In a bit of a frustrated panic (because Chadd was waiting in the car), we grabbed some cream Cascade 128 and a pale pink ball of Kidsilk Haze.

It turned out nice, which is good, because that’s about as pink as I’m willing to go. Pale, pale pink, and dreamy, dreamy soft.

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back to the weeks just past…

You know when that first cup of coffee tastes so good, you should probably just brew a pot of tea, because you know the second cup doesn’t have a chance of tasting as good as the first…

I am not a morning person, and that sweet Loki hound is. He opens those big eyes anywhere from 4:30 to 6:30, which is not Odin’s idea of morning either, God bless him. But Loki whines from the confines of his kennel until I get up. When it’s closer to 6:30, (and summer) he’s a great alarm clock.

But mornings are a bit groggy. Thank goodness I’m off work for a couple of weeks while the garden centre transitions into Christmas. The dogs like morning naps, and so do I.

Morning is also for knitting. I wish it was for blogging. I feel lost when time passes without a blog post, because this blog is my memory bank. I’m not one of those people who remembers things, so having the blog to go back to, to remember stuff I should know (like what year I started knitting, or what the girls went as for Halloween last year) is important.

And this year, well, was our first Halloween at this house, and only 15 trick-or-treaters showed up at our door. I ended up handing out fistfuls of candy to the kids that made it to our door. I had wondered how many we would get, because we don’t have many neighbours built along side us just yet. Although I could see lots of kids in the subdivision across the main road from us, few wanted to cross the street just for our house. The costumes were great, though. One kid showed up as a hunter, in full camouflage, with deer antlers slung over his shoulder. My dad would have liked that one.

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Elena went as a can of Monster Energy drink. Poster paper and packing tape, and she was so happy with her costume. I love the creative energy that goes into a Halloween costume (since I refuse to buy one!) And the ideas that started flying after realizing what you can “be” as a tube! A trash can! Oscar the grouch in the trash can! Diet coke! A video game character (I had forgotten that Mario jumps into tubes)! An Energizer battery (if you had a friend willing to go as the bunny)! Oh boy…come see me next year!

There is still traces of blue glitter on the floor and daybed from Elena’s early Halloween party the weekend before Halloween. She had such a great plan for the evening. Starting with pumpkin carving, then pizza, cupcake decorating, the rest of the night turned into a dance party. I got to sit out by the bonfire in the backyard with beer and marshmallows. It was an absolutely perfect night for a fire, and we watched through the windows as the girls danced to “Just Dance” until the party ended at ten o’clock. The best night, all around.

Yard clean up happened in the days just after Halloween. So nice to have it all tidied away. Except for the two half-boxes of parsnips still on the summer kitchen. I’m slowly bringing them in, soaking them in the kitchen sink to get rid of the rest of the dirt, and then storing them in the fridge. I have trouble getting things done with the produce as quickly as I should, though. I’m just not the chef I used to be (sometimes, I don’t even want to cook!) Last night, though, I dragged out the bag of leeks that I was worried were rotting in the fridge (they weren’t) and made potato, leek and bacon soup. Excellent recipe from off the internet, although we were guessing at some of the ingredients. I had no idea a rasher of bacon was an actual measurement, but we just threw a bunch of bacon in, because…it’s bacon. It also called for pot single cream, and all we had on hand was whipping cream. But it was all good. (Because it’s cream and bacon.)

And the knitting? Currently, a cowl with a little KidSilk Haze thrown in. Not a hardship, either!

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