April 2008

April 29th, 2008 - Send Some Lovin'

Today is a very important day for my Mom, as a business partnership that she has had for the last two years is coming to an end. It is the best possible thing that could happen in my her life right now, as it has caused much stress and hardship. So send along some congrats if you feel so inclined!

Also not so long ago it was my Mom's birthday. My Mom is one of my favourite people to knit for, as she is someone who appreciates the time and effort involved. Over the past few years she has also been catching the fibre bug and admiring the different yarns that are now available to knitters/weavers/crocheters.

So this year I thought I would make her something she has been coveting, the Dream In Color Shrug.

As you can see, my mom is really really tiny, so I was worried that it was not going to fit properly. All that worrying was for nothing though

This is the third of these shrugs I have knit, so obviously I enjoy the pattern. This colourway is Gothic Rose I believe. It is an easy knit and the yarn is so smooshy which feels great in your hands.

So Happy Belated Birthday Mom! I hope you have lots of time to enjoy wearing your shrug.

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April 28th, 2008 - An Easter Visit

Gosh, posting two days in a row, what is happening here?

Being the sweetheart that she is, my bestest of friends missbedora decided that she would come down to visit not long after we moved. It was great to have some contact from home so soon after all the craziness of moving. And it worked out great that it was easter weekend as well. I thought I would tell you a little about Roanoke while I show some pictures from the visit.

I think the first thing missbedora (and I) noticed was how warm it is here. We had a brutal winter this year in Toronto, so it was a welcome change to come down here to warm sunny weather. missbedora arrived on March 22nd, and it was 22C that day

Notice the short sleeves. My understanding is Toronto got snow three days later on the 25th. *Grin*

As a start of the tour we thought we would check out Roanoke's downtown. (Actually the start of the tour was at Bath and Body works, but we won't talk about the HUGE bag of products missbedora walked out with. Let's just say I think she has a problem.)

Yes, that is the Easter Bunny. Roanoke has a very quaint feel to it's downtown, without being a small town at all. There is a little pocket of charm that the city has obviously worked hard to create/preserve.

There is an outdoor market in the main part of downtown that is open 7 days a week. This time of year there are a lot of plants, plus the usual artisans. Later in the year of course are all the fruits and veggies. I can't wait for these to start.

Part of downtown is the Hotel Roanoke, which is a beautiful old hotel that has been restored and is now also a conference centre.

Yup, even the train conductors have charm.

Of course one of the things that the south is well known for is the food. So how could we not have a full southern breakfast?

Complete with biscuits, sausage gravy, grits, fried apples, eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns and ham. That was ONE order. Yikes.

The rest of the tour on day two consisted of driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a little lacking in colour early in the spring, but still a great drive.

This is the mountain that we live on, Read Mountain. And of course we had to go see the Roanoke Star, up on the top of Mill Mountain.

It is the world's largest man-made star. They actually do specify man made:

They are pretty serious about the star here. TJ met the guy who is responsible for making sure that all the lights are working on it, and apparently within 5 minutes of a light being out he will get about 15 phone calls. It is very pretty at night, and it looks as though it is floating.

So that is a little about the lovely city of Roanoke. It was great to have missbedora down, and I can't wait for her and more of my family to come down to visit. In the meantime I am still refining the Roanoke tour.

Next, back to crafting. I promise.

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April 27th, 2008 - Mountains of Changes

It wasn't long after we arrived in Roanoke that I started to see lots of differences between here and Aurora. Our new house is up a mountain, and because we are the last street in the subdivision we back onto a wooded area.

The first thing we discovered is that we are up really high. Really high. High enough that when there is a storm? We are basically at the cloud line.

For comparison, here is what it normally looks like

Thankfully now it is much greener out there

The other change we noticed with the storm was that siding houses make *strange* noises when it is windy. I am used to it now, but the first few nights we rough. We had one night of 50 mph hour winds and I was sure the house was coming apart at the seams.

The next thing we noticed was the wildlife. TJ was driving into the subdivision the third day we were in the house, and had to stop to let 12 deer cross the road. A couple of days later the pack of 12 was in the backyard.

This has dashed any hopes I had of a vegetable garden, since we don't have a fence. Actually, I think it has killed any hopes of growing anything out there. There is a small tree that has been completely picked clean. I don't mind though, I like watching them roam back there.

There have also been reports of a baby black bear, but the neighbour only saw it once in the early spring and it has never returned. Which is probably good because wherever there is a baby, there is mama.

Another new one early this morning was an opossum. My understanding is that there are sort of Roanoke's version of Toronto raccoons, in that they can be a bit of a pest. But he didn't seem to interested in us or garbage or anything, he just waddled along the tree line.

There is also ample evidence of voles or mice in the yard, as there are many small holes - just enough to twist an ankle in. Ask me how I know.

Last but not least are the birds. Coming from a new subdivision where the trees were too small to support anything other than the odd sparrow and grackle, it is great to see and hear some new songs and colours.

Other than wildlife changes, there are lots of other small things that we have noticed. Not being able to get certain brands of products that you are used to, no Mars bars (which is a good thing because I may have a small addiction) or Smarties, margarine is, sorry to say, awful, and changes in the prices of things. And of course there is the accent. We get asked all the time where we are from - it is very obvious that we are not from the south.

I thought that Southern Hospitality was just something from the movies, but we are discovering it certainly is not. I am finding that I need to slow myself down here, because any time you ask someone a question, they take the time to have a whole conversation with you. Strangers will ask you almost anything, and tell you just about every detail about themselves 10 minutes after you meet them. It is a great quality, but it is a little unnerving coming from Toronto where most of the time if someone talks to you, it leads you to wonder what is wrong with them. Here it is a way of life, and it is truly lovely.

Next, a bit more about Roanoke itself, and a visit from the darling missbedora! I promise to be back to crafting soon, so thanks if you are still reading.

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April 24th, 2008- Movers and Shakers

Once TJ and I had arrived back from the walking tour of San Francisco, it was time to pack up our lives into boxes and move far far away. Luckily for us (and for our stuff, because as anyone knows I can't pack worth a damn) TJ's company had packers and movers hired for us. Day one two packers came in and packed everything we owned. Such a weird experience, having someone pack up your life. I am sure these guys have seen everything, but there were still things that I came across when I was unpacking that I thought "what must have gone through his head when he packed this??"

I knew since we had moved into the house that my crafting supplies had multiplied exponentially. I think I had three boxes when we moved from the condo. This:

oh wait, and this:

plus my loom, easel and shelves were what I had when we moved out. Seriously scary. I need to start using some of this stuff up!

While it was weird having two strangers going through my stuff, it was much better than having to pack it myself. Especially the kitchen. I hate packing kitchens.

Day two was moving day, but first we had to say a temporary goodbye to our kid.

Wee little Mini was loaded up on a car carrier bound for VA. So sad. We had to go a whole week without her.

The movers arrived, and this was much more stressful than the packing. Three very rough around the edges guys arrived for this part. The door was open all day of course so it was freezing in the house, and I felt like I was constantly in the way. While I would seriously consider hiring movers if I had to move on my own because it saves the back breaking work, I will know ahead of time that it is not fun.

Nonetheless, they did a good job packing the truck. Man we own a lot of stuff.

Once the truck was gone, TJ and I had a very sad and tearful goodbye with the house. Even though we knew we were making the right decision, we both loved that house very much and did not have enough time to enjoy it. On top of the stress of leaving friends and family, we were leaving our completely amazing neighbours (who in a year and a half had become very good friends of ours). The last moments in the house were certainly more difficult then we had ever though they would be.

However, we persevered, and spent our last couple days in Toronto visiting with friends and family and trying to wade out from beneath one last 2.5 foot dump of snow. And then we were off!

Next...our arrival!

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April 22nd, 2008- She's Alive!

Betcha had wondered for a while, eh? What can I say, moving countries has been rather a busy experience. Things are just starting to settle down now, so I am going to try and catch you all up, slowly.

To start, I thought I would brush you up on our vacation to San Francisco that we took right after I finished work but before we moved. TJ needed to be out on the coast for work, so we thought that we would take a long weekend and check out San Fran, since I had never seen it.

Sweeties on the BART

The first place my darling hubby took me was Artfibers. Some of you might remember that years ago when he was in San Fran he picked up a bunch of yarn there for me. So understanding as he is about the fibre addition, that was our first stop. And what a stop it was.

Seriously, this place is crazy. You can swatch anything you want to; it is all there ready for you. And the person that helped me was super nice as well.

Crazy wall of swatches

From there we walked almost the entire city of San Fran (our feet had the blisters to prove it).

We did/saw (click any for pics):

Cable car ride

Lombard Street (sorry the picture doesn't show the street, the batteries died after this pic)

Pier 39 (as well as all the other piers)

Sea lions

Coit Tower

China town (just like TO's, but much larger)

Yerba Buena Gardens

Shaking man (another pic)

SFMOMA

Gumps (Pic1, Pic2, Pic3)

and of course the Golden Gate bridge.

It was soooooo cold and windy when we were up there, so we only walked halfway out and headed back. We could hardly keep ourselves upright.

We walked down underneath the bridge as well, dodging huge waves the whole way. Not long after we were down there they closed off the road because it was too dangerous. That's me, living my life on the edge. :)

We had a great trip and it was just the bit of fun we needed before the move. BTW - if you are ever looking to stay at the Mark Twain in SF, it is cheap, pretty clean, but you will need earplugs. It is on a main street and the windows are old, so you hear everything. Plus the rads drip all night so if that bothers you, really, bring the earplugs. I would stay again though for what is cost.

Tomorrow, moving!

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