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Posts from March 2009

Zzzzzzz

I'm so tired. 

Friday and Saturday were the culmination of a big project I ended up coordinating--our office move.  I left a crappy, temporary, windowless cell and moved to a lovely bright, newly furnished (with a fab new Aeron chair too) space with a window.  I'm also in the same office with my colleagues, instead of in another room.  It's nice (even if these photos aren't so good at showing that).

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But getting there was very tiring.  The coordination of everything, the dealing with a cumbersome bureaucracy that comes from being in a large organization, those "little things" that your co-workers do that make you a bit crazy, being there on Saturday for the whole day to ensure the move goes properly and the movers don't break anything; even redoing your big boss' floor plan when you realize the designer was smoking something when they laid out the furniture.  It was stressful.

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Add to it, while you're packing on Friday, having your son fall off the monkey bars and banging his eye on the ladder, requiring meeting your husband at the hospital so he can get the health card and wait for 6 hours in the ER (where you walk over from work to visit instead of going home early when everything is packed).  Xander ends up with 6 stitches right below his eyebrow and you can see why I feel like I'm in a waking coma right now.

Then add in a cockamamie idea to get up today at 6am and do the Wii fit (Because I need to keep my flagging exercise routine going) AND my decision to ride my bike to work today for the first time this spring. 

Then I go to work and help unpack everything, receive the last of the furniture, deal with keys (yet again), log co-workers concerns and complaints and, and, and...

And I'm so dead I could fall asleep right now.  Except I want to watch more of BSG and drink a beer.  If I can make it to the tv by crawling.

Zzzzzzz


Angora Milestone

Grey Mist is off the needles!

It's not done.  But the body is complete.  All those stitches are off the needles and I'm down to the sleeves.  I consider what's left to be comparable to finishing a pair of socks--and I can certainly manage that.

I even used some of the leftover yoke colours on the hem (I apologize for the crappy photo).

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Woohoo!  Getting close to getting this baby done.


A funny thing happened in Cozumel airport...

As planned, I brought my Whisper Cardigan knitting to Cozumel.  I knit some of it on the plane, and while it was in my beach bag all week, I didn't knit a stitch.  I'm not particularly surprised by this fact, but I did think I would have a minute or two to knit while the kids were asleep or something.  Turns out they went to bed the same time as us, and that's fine too.

I did plan to knit on the plane on the way home.  But that didn't happen.

I had my knitting on my metal Knitpicks interchangeables, in my Tom Bihn pouch when I went through security, just like I did in Toronto airport.  I was also carrying two 1litre open bottles of water, which I was told was no problem.  I thought that was funny since liquids are a big no-n0 in Canada and the US (and most other airports), but I got to keep my water so I didn't complain.

When I was told then needed to look in my bag, that didn't phase me because the knitting is always inspected when I fly.  I take out the pouch and show the friendly security woman the work.  She tells me in broken English that I can't take the needles on the plane.  I tell her I knit on the way down and that I checked and my airline allows knitting needles.  She tells me the rules are different in Mexico.

So I unscrew the points and show them to her.  I tell her they're like pencils and I won't knit, but I'll just put them with my pens in my purse.  She tells me the rules are different in Mexico and I realize my points are't coming home with me.  They cost about 5 bucks, so no biggie.

Craig has other plans.  He takes the points and his passport and boarding pass and goes back to the check in.  I presume he's going to see if he can put them in his suitcase, but I wonder how he's going to manage that since we checked in about 5 minutes ago.  I take the kids and sit (Cozumel airport is very small).  Craig  comes back without my points.  Turns out a fellow passenger (and evil tequila bringing hot tub companion) offered to put them in his bag.  Nice.

We have the flight attendant bring our pal and his wife a beer. 

When we arrive in Toronto, we wait for our bags and our pal Alex hands me my points.  He says in a drug dealer type voice: "Here is your stuff, just don't tell anyone you got them from me."

Smuggled needles.  I love it.



Cozumel: The best day of our trip

On Wednesday we ventured out of the resort to do some exploring.  We rented a convertible Jeep, which we later named Squeaky because when you put on the brakes, they squealed so loud that everyone turned around.  The gears were more grindy that shifty and there was no rear view mirror.  It did have working seat belts and it ran fine, and as you'll see in a minute, it was totally worth renting it to get around the island.

We drove the 16kms or so into San Miguel de Cozumel and once were were in town it was like Toronto rush hour.  There were seven cruise ships docking on the island that day, which is apparently normal, and this means there are about 12,000 extra people wandering around the town.  Many of them rented Jeeps too and the main drag was packed with cars.  I didn't take pictures because I was too busy trying to scope our a parking space.

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We eventually found a place closer to the edge of town and made the short walk to our destination--a ride on the Atlantis Submarine.

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Our original plan was to go on a snorkeling tour of some of the nearby reefs with the kids, but our try with the equipment off the beach resulted in cold kiddies and tears so we decided to see the reefs this way.  After a short safety orientation (just like the one on the airplane) and a 15 minute boat ride, we saw this:

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It was hardly Das Boot, but it was a submarine.  We went down 40ft at first and explored part of the coral reefs. 

Atlantis Submarine Ride

Then we descended down to 100 feet and saw other nifty things.  It was very cool. 

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Apparently, only 1% of the population has been in a submarine (we got a certificate!) and I wasn't claustrophobic or anything (which bodes well for my plans to try SCUBA at some point).  It did feel like being in an aquarium in some ways, but knowing we were in the Ocean was super cool.

After that we made a quick dash into a 7/11 for drinks and Mexican snackies and then we jumped into Squeaky and hit the road.  We planned to walk on the strip for a bit, but the kids weren't interested and it was the usual touristy shops (this time crammed with cruise passengers).  We crossed the island and headed to what Jane  (blog reader and Cozumel expert) tells me is the Wild Side of Cozumel. 

We turned the corner and saw this.

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Gah.

Here's our description.

It was so beautiful.  Giant waves, endless beach, beautiful sky and ocean.  Almost no people.  Gorgeousness.

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We ate lunch at Senor Iguana's (we somehow missed the Mezcalito restaurant right beside it that was recommended to us by several people) and then did some exploring. 

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It is obvious why this side of the island is not developed; it's too dangerous for swimming (look at the people swimming--and scaring the crap out of us in the first picture). 

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The force of the waves was huge and standing in knee deep water, I could feel the water being sucked back to sea.

Waves

But that made the whole thing so much nicer.  We swam in a safe lagoon in Chen Rio and then went a bit farther down the beach and played in the waves.  It was spectacular.

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I love body surfing and while we were careful to only go in up to our knees, there was plenty of fun to be had in those waves while we watched the huge ones farther out.  We stayed until about 5pm (which, since it's winter still means that the sun was starting to go down).  We had a nice drive back with the sun setting over the jungle. 

This is a place I MUST go back to.

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Cozumel: Silly Fun Edition

I wasn't the only one who had some silly fun in Cozumel (though my Disco Emma persona is likely never to be resurrected).  The staff at the resort had some fun activities for visitors. 

One neat feature was the high ropes course (something I didn't do, but now regret skipping).  Emma and Craig had a good time on this one (there are lots of pictures of it here).


High Ropes Course 2009

We also did a bit of snorkeling off the beach (the kids didn't enjoy it much, which was too bad) and played the requisite pool volleyball and beach volleyball.

The most fun was the water walker.  Just watch the video; the kids are cute, but Craig's is hilarious.  I didn't get a turn because they only did it for limited times on certain days and it was the most popular game of the week.


Six 6 VI Seis 六 Zes ٦

This blog turns SIX today.  Wow.  Six years of writing is a long time.  I didn't really think of the time-span when I started, and I never considered that this would be a feature of my life for so long.

Looking at my recent stats, I notice that my readership is down, along with my posts.  I know I post less because my life is busier and I have less time.  I also have less to say about knitting in the era of Raverly, where I'm pretty sure everything about knitting is discussed or will be soon. 

I do like having the space to write, when I want and can, and to record my thoughts, rants, family events and even remain true to the title and talk about knitting.  And I love that you all come in for a visit, leave a comment, write me an email, use me as a resource, ask and answer my questions and sometimes become my virtual yet very real friends.  Thanks.


Cozumel...Wish I was still there (Part 2)

Resort vacations have a slightly surreal (or rather unreal) sense about them.  Once you check in to the resort, you can essentially turn off your brain and just do.  I took no electronic gadgets (not even the i-pod), was cut off from the rest of the world and all of my needs were taken care of.  When I wanted to eat, I went to where there was food.  When I wanted a drink, there was a bar.  I could have a dry towel any time during the day.  It's EASY and it's very very nice; all we had to do was play.

So we did.

Archery lessons

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Swimming

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Sliding

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Reading

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Playing chess

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Hot tubbing (thankfully there are no photos of my Thursday in the hot tub; let's leave it at re-learning, yet again, that too much tequila is BAD).

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Telling jokes, playing games and dancing at the nightly show (it's like being at camp, but with a better sound system and more talented singers and entertainers)

Getting completely silly at the show. 

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That's me on stage with Sandy and Paul playing Top of The Pops.  I was the leader of the Fevers team and we were kicking butt on the music trivia.

That all changed when Paul took me and the other contestant back stage and starting apologizing...

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Then, I had to dance.  It was a silly good time.  The Fevers won the night, I got a t-shirt and luckily there was no video of my performance as Disco Emma (I couldn't think of a name and all I could here was my daughter yelling "Emma"--so Disco Emma was born).

Lots of Happiness

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Cozumel...Wish I was still there (Part 1)

It. Was. Fantastic.

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We got off to a rough start because our flight was delayed 15 hours due to a mechanical problem, which meant that instead of having drinks while the sunset in Cozumel on Saturday, we were prying our eyes open at 2:30am Sunday to catch a 6am flight.  We were pretty disappointed and we're working with our travel agent to get something better than a credit for our next flight, but it didn't spoil the trip.  It was the first time the kids stayed in a hotel and they had fun in the pool.

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We arrived Sunday morning, put on our swimsuits and explored the resort.  We stayed at the Holiday Villages White Sands Resort (formerly known as the Occidental Allegro) and it was beautiful.  Our room had a thatched roof and a king size bed and the kids ajoining room (called a Family Suite) had two beds for them, colourful kiddie bedding and their own bathroom and hammock.  We could lock them out, but they couldn't do the same to us...an elegant concept I must say.

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Xander crashed on the first afternoon.  He liked the hammock.

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The grounds were clean and pretty.  The bars were plentiful as was the food and the beach was fantastic.  I don't understand people who fly to the Caribbean and then park themselves beside a pool.  I want the surf and sand.

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And I found it here. 

We had rain one evening and one morning, but otherwise it was sunny and hot and beautiful.  I am nicely tanned (I did burn a bit on Friday--even with sunscreen) and while I played a lot (sometimes a little too much) I also felt rested and calm; unlike the week before this holiday where work and life were getting to be a bit too stressful.

So Sunday we tried the pools and Alexander found his little bit of paradise. 

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This structure was full of slides and water guns and things that splashed you. 

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There were always kids running around and that big pirate head drops water on the crowd every 10 minutes.  

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Thankfully it didn't open until 10 and closed for 2 hours over lunch, so we weren't here for the entire week.   But I did play with the kids in it a few times, and it's pretty fun.

We also took a swim in the ocean, tried out the hot tub before having a nice supper and then falling into bed before 7:30.

I have lots more to say and I love having a blog as a travel diary, so I'll post more soon. The only problem with vacations is the re-entry into life and even though the kids are at my Mom's for the March Break (convenient eh?) I have so much to do.  If you want to cheat a bit and have a peek (or not read all the details), all the photos are up on Flickr.


Beachy and not-so-beachy books

I've bought my beach books, and because I didn't have anything on the go after finishing Eragon (I will not read the rest of the series--too much description...) I started the trashiest of them, The Other Boleyn Girl.  It's meh.  Good enough to read on the subway and to put me to sleep, but not all that great.  It'll be good for the beach.

I have said this before, but it's still true: Graduate school killed my love of reading.  I still read a lot at work every day, mostly policies and collective agreements, and I find it hard to read anything that challenges me in the evenings because I'm tired and want to zone out.  I'm working on it. 

I picked up Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayer, on Juno's recommendation and plan to have my feet in the sand and a Corona in my hand when I start that.  I'm also bringing along a review copy of Knitting The Threads of Time: Casting Back to the Heart of Our Craft which sounds really interesting.  I doubt I'll have time to get through them all with the kids to snorkel with and sun to soak in, but there's no harm in trying. 

A friend put up this list which I thought was interesting.  It's a meme, but only if you want.  My total=32.  I find this list a bit Dickens heavy.  What about Toni Morrison or DH Lawrence or E.M. Forester instead?  Like all these lists, it's a statement about what is considered worth reading (for me, NOT The DaVinci Code).

***

The Big Read (http://www.neabigread.org/) said that, on average, adults have only read six books on this list. So ... copy this list, remove my yeses and nos, and add your comments (favourable or otherwise) about the ones you have read. Don't forget to include a total. 

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - 10 times at least.
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien – Started a few times.  Probably will never read it
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - YES
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling – YES
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - YES
6 The Bible – I went to Catholic School, so have read parts of it.  No interest in it now.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - YES
8 1984 - George Orwell - YES
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman -
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens -
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - YES (and everything else she wrote--some neat trashy stuff)
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy – YES
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller – YES
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare – (Only what I had to read in high school--not because I didn't like it, just because I never got back to it.)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier -
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien -
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks -
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - YES
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger -
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot- On my TO READ list
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell - YES
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - YES
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens-
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy -
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - YES
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh -
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - YES
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame -
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - YES
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens - why so much Dickens?
33 The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis -
34 Emma - Jane Austen - YES
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen - YES (one of my favourites)
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - YES
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres-
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden -
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne –
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell -YES
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - Never will
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving -
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery - YES (20 times at least--one of my favourites)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy -
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood - YES
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - YES
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan - YES (liked it but preferred Amsterdam)
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel - on my nightstand
52 Dune - Frank Herbert- YES
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons -
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - YES
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth -
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon -
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens -
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - YES
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon -
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck –
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov -
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt -
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold –
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas -
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac -
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy -
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding - YES
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie -
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville -
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens -
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker - YES
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett -
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson -
75 Ulysses - James Joyce -
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath -
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome -
78 Germinal - Emile Zola -
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray -
80 Possession - AS Byatt-
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens -
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell - Have it.  Need to read it
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker -YES
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro -
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert -
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry - YES (excellent book)
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White - YES
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom -
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton –
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - YES
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupe – YES
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks -
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams -
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole -
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute -
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas -
98 Hamlet – Shakespeare – YES

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - Working on it with Emma
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo -