Thursday, March 31, 2011


My daughter was in the car waiting for her sister and me, who were putting on our shoes to go to a riding lesson, and suddenly BLEURGH, she puked. I mean she got rid of everything she had eaten all day, soaked the carseat, soaked the floor mat, the carpet under the floor mat, the back of the front seat, you name it. It even ran down the seat and into the gap between the seat and the backrest of the car, and down into the bit where the seatbelt sticks out. Am I ever going to get the smell out, is what I want to know. I have scrubbed and spot treated and scrubbed again, and scrubbed with Basic H and scrubbed with Fresh Laundry and sprayed and dried and washed and scrubbed and sprinkled baking soda, and the miasma in the car is still formidable.

To top it all off, we got to the riding lesson, groomed the horse, tacked him, and then the instructor phoned to say she had an emergency and couldn’t make it.


I am bailing out – it is 8:15 and I am leaving the house to have coffee with my friend. Can’t stand it another minute – can’t stand being The Mum – the person who is in charge of cleaning up all the most unpleasant messes. Everybody’s peed pants, everybody’s accidental diarrhea toots, everybody’s vomit, everybody’s bloody noses are MY responsibility. Bad enough during the rest of the year - flu season is too much for me. I just can’t take it anymore. I need an hour away, and coffee, and maybe a stroll through a magazine section somewhere.

Here I am, beyond thrilled because I get to spend an hour and a half in Starbucks - my first coffee break in around 3 weeks. "Mum" is the grittiest job there is, and you've got hardly any sodding break from it.

But hey - at least it teaches you to be grateful for small mercies.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Argh! What is with the crazy viruses this year? You're sick, you're better, you're sick, you're fine now, Oh Wait, you're sick again.

I think I'm on a Fine day, so I'm online for the first time in a week to remind you about Earth Hour which is on Friday. It's a sad state of affairs when we congratulate ourselves for turning off our lights for one hour a year, but I'm sure Mother Earth is saying to herself, "Beggars can't be choosers". Imagine how different the planet would look if we all habitually did those Fukushima-style rolling blackouts. (Yes, Dave, even I have heard of Fukushima.)

It's no secret that we're reliant on technology. I rail against it, but you should have seen my look of dismay when, mid-scrub, my Oral B Sonic Care toothbrush batteries died. And once I breezily decided I'd try making macaroons without a power mixer - just good old fashioned whisking. I nearly had an apoplexy, and for days I felt like one arm was normal and one was Popeye.

It was humbling. It makes me think the obesity epidemic could be ameliorated just by making everybody do their housework and cooking appliance-free. The nation's arm-jiggle would be gone, certainly.

Friday, March 11, 2011

1982, Revisited

Since Christmas I've been enjoying a second childhood with my daughters' new dolls - Brianne and Leonie of the "Maplelea Girls". This line is Canada's version of the ubiquitous "American Girl" doll - equal in quality and price (a nice, round $100), albeit definitely a country cousin as far as the comprehensiveness of the line goes. There are only five Maplelea Girls, whereas the American Girl line, with their 'customize your doll to be exactly like you' option, is basically limitless.

Anyway, down to business: the clothes.

I'd be embarrassed to tell you how many hours I've spent dreaming up outfits for these dolls, so let's skip that part and get to the first one I've actually made - a gift for a friend's daughter, whose birthday party is today and whose Maplelea Girl will be the lucky recipient of this.

It looks better in real life.
A pleated wool skirt and an alpaca cardigan, made with the remnants of a 100 gram ball of Socrates alpaca sock yarn.

The wool is scrap from a skirt I made for myself this week, and was done in about 2 hours, altogether, most of it spent pleating. I just cut a 33" piece, marked it at 1.5" increments, and pressed 1/2" pleats all along the length, then stitched two lines at the top and a 1/8" hem at bottom, and added the braided microsuede trim to give it a firmer edge at the top. Two 1/4" snaps close it at centre back. This was SUPER FUN to make...luckily, because my daughters both want identical ones for their dolls.

Cardi for Brianne
Pattern: Retro Cardi by Caroline Dlugy-Hegwer, for 18" dolls
Yarn: Alpaca With a Twist Socrates in kind of a purpley colour...have lost ball band.
Tension: around 7.5 sts per inch
Needle: 3.00mm bamboo
Notes: Turned out too big. It looked slimmer in the pattern photo, so I'm wondering whether my tension was incorrect, or whether my eyes simply deceived me. So, once it was done I cut it under the arms and removed 3 inches of width, in total. Seamed it with a sewing machine. Shoulders are still too generous though.

This project was so fun, I've already started a Fair Isle vest that measures 12 inches around and 6 inches cute! I'll show you next week. Today's Mr HalfSoledBoots' birthday, so I'm off cake-making right now.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My Friend Clicka

Watching My Friend Flicka with my daughters, Em saw this scene and remarked "Ma's texting."

Which is so postmodern it kills me. I thought it was bad when they saw a Fisher Price record player and said "It even has some CDs with it".

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Get this. I was just on the phone with a friend who, when I said "No one offered me any advice," said this to me:

"Shannon, do you know that you present as a person who has it all together?"

Momentarily speechless, I recovered, resorted to Georgette Heyer and replied blankly, "Good God!"

 * * *
Slightly more than five months have passed since Sandy's death. It seems like both a long time and a short time - more long than short. I often find myself feeling as if she belongs to an entirely different lifetime I once had. I wish that one wasn't over.
 * * *
I am knitting nearly every day, trying to finish the Rheingold Wrap. It is now about the same height as I am, so I am awfully close to finishing. I've started cutting fringe for it, to make sure I don't run out of yarn in my attempt to get it as long as possible.
 * * *
Got a nondescript envelope in the mail last week which proved to be four tickets to Cirque du Soleil this summer - Mr WonderfulHSB knows the path to a girl's heart. (Lithesome humans in catsuits, fantastically made up, hurtling through the air while performing death-defying feats of athleticism and grace.) I cannot WAIT.
 * * *
Recovering slowly from a fairly paralysing form of stomach flu that has incapacitated me for the better part of a week. During that time, I watched "Middlemarch", which I don't think was as helpful as it ought to have been.
 * * *
And I am reading Henry James' short stories. I'm not sure how I got to the age of 37 without having read "Daisy Miller" but that omission is now repaired. It was well enough, though I prefer "The Aspern Papers", also new to me, and in the same volume. I don't think I care for James' heroes (possibly better described as "narrators") - they are very wishy-washy.