Taking Stock, April 2018

Making: a pair of mittens, which I am designing myself, and a cowl, which I am also designing

Cooking: noodle bowls and curries, nesting food for the depths of winter

Drinking: lemonade and hot chocolate (alternately, depending on whether it’s snowing or summery.  What an April we’ve had…)

Deciding: just how much brassica (cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts) I can grow this year

Wishing: I had started my greenhouse plants even earlier than I did -- it wasn’t that warm out, but it wasn’t dropping below freezing in the greenhouse overnight, so I think I could have put the seeds into pots at the beginning of April.

Enjoying: Easter chocolate, of course!

Waiting: and waiting and waiting for warmer weather!  We’ve had many days lately that look deceptively warm and sunny, until you step out into the blasting, icy winds and it feels like -15.  In April!

Liking: the song This Is Me from The Greatest Showman (I haven’t seen the movie yet, but my dance class is warming up to this song this session)

Wondering: when my AFLCA certification will come through.  It’s the certification I’m completing so I can be a fitness leader, and I finally finished the practical observation last week, which was the last piece of the (many) requirements.  

Loving: spring cleaning!  We’ve done a lot of the house, plus we took advantage of a sunny day to clean the car.  Next up, the craft stash.

Pondering: a new convertible backpack from Pixie Mood, though I really shouldn’t...

Considering: whether I’m ready for the MCAT prep course I’m teaching, which starts next week.  The course has been updated a lot since I last taught it, and there’s so much to review!

Buying: seeds -- San Marzano tomatoes, as an experiment, and pumpkin (because of the jack o’lantern on the package, largely)

Watching: Alias Grace on Netflix.  It’s good, but when I watch all I want to do is read the book (by Margaret Atwood) because it’s so much more layered and complex than a TV show could ever be

Marvelling: at how fun it is to master a tricky dance sequence -- most of the sequences are fairly easy, but once in a while there’s a trickier one and i just practice until it’s second nature.  It feels so good to finally get it.

Cringing: because my knitting-related shoulder pain is back...I really should figure out a long-term solution so it doesn’t keep recurring.  Ideas I’ve had so far are knitting with timer so I take regular breaks, knitting in a hard chair (rather than on a soft couch), sitting up straighter, supporting my arms so that my shoulders don’t have to take the weight of the knitting, and stretching out my shoulder muscles every night.

Smelling: my many perfume samples, which I’m trying to make an effort to use (and not just stockpile)

Wearing: shorts and fleece, alternately

Admiring: Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, which I finally got around to reading.  I was a bit underengaged in the first half, but the story picked up and I sped through the last half

Listening: BBC Radio 4’s Friday Night Comedy podcast -- I’m even starting to recognize some voices, and they’re all so funny

Taking Stock, March 2018

Making: a doll plus a boatload of accessories, from this fabric that I bought a long time ago.  I picked Olive, after a lot of deliberation.  Hopefully it will be all done by H’s 4th birthday.  I am not very good at stuffing soft toys, so we’ll see how they turn out

Cooking: a lot of cakes, lately; pound cake, blueberry muffins, kiwi muffins, blueberry sour cream cake, cinnamon buns...my freezer is stuffed

Drinking: rum and Coke, what can I say?  I need something to scare away the cold viruses

Wanting: to ditch my toque and heavy Sorels

Looking: for non-candy ideas for things to stuff into plastic Easter eggs (I’ve come up with stickers, pompoms, jokes...)

Playing: with portable gym equipment (like free weights, kettlebells, Bosu balls, stretchy bands, etc.), which is kind of neat.  I don’t know why it surprises me, but people are into some weeeeeird workout stuff

Deciding: whether I should indulge in the Buttercream Clothing spring collection.  I love the new fabrics, and everything I’ve bought from them is so high-quality.

Wishing: I could find a pair of jeans that fits and flatters!  Eternal struggle, right, ladies?

Enjoying: Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series, still.  I accidentally skipped from the 5th book to the 16th, but by the time I realized (which took me an embarrassingly long time, actually) that I’d skipped ahead I was way too deep into the mystery to stop.

 A current WIP (Barley Sugar, by Ysolda Teague)

A current WIP (Barley Sugar, by Ysolda Teague)

Waiting: for Easter!  I love the smells of spring, melting snow, my Easter Feaster (™ me) meal (eggs, ham, heavy cream, asparagus), and chocolate

Liking: Girls Trip (the movie)...I can’t say it was all wonderful, but there are a lot of funny and endearing moments (mostly courtesy of Tiffany Haddish)

Wondering: if I could really declutter like The Minimalist Mom talks about...she is right that kid clutter is actually parent clutter

Loving: all the nicknames my daughter comes up with for herself - Princess Leia, Elsa, Emma (the yellow Wiggle), Tap Your Little Heart Out

Pondering: whether we should choose swimming or gymnastics for the spring quarter...it’s nice to have choices like this

Considering: buying cookbooks, specifically Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi and her Dorie’s Cookies, as well as the new book from Smitten Kitchen

Buying: some prints on paper and on canvas to brighten up the house for spring.  How often do you switch up wall decor in your house?

Watching: our solar power collection rack up, up, up...we have an inverter system that we can monitor with an app, so we can see instantaneous and historical data on how much solar power the panels on our roof have produced.  So neat!

Marvelling: at how happy it makes me feel to have more hours of sun and to see everything melting

Feeling: pressed to plan out the summer, booking trips and organizing meetups and activities

Needing: a little break from dancing -- it’s great exercise, but it’s not easy on your body to dance your little heart out twice a week

Questioning: why it keeps snowing, then melting, then snowing...ah, early spring

Wearing: light boots!  Finally out of those heavy Sorels (I love them when there’s snow, but I’m always relieved when the snow melts and I can stop stomping around)

Noticing: how cool Calgary Olympic Park is...awesome to have a facility like that right in the city, though it is showing its age now.  We went to the tube park there and it was pretty fun

Thinking: that I should get going on designing if I’m going to design six patterns by the end of the year

Admiring: the woman who runs the Tours for Tots program at the Art Gallery of Alberta - she’s amazing with the kids, and she comes up with art activities that are perfect for preschoolers, and the program is free with admission!

Sorting: through toys, trying to declutter so I can sell things at a used-kid’s-things sale in April

Bookmarking: Octopus Pie by Meredith Gran, which I had never heard of until last week.  I'm curious to see where it goes

Coveting: a new backpack, specifically this one -- but do I really NEED another backpack?  The answer is pretty much always no

Disliking: these shoulder-season colds!  I always seem to get a cold when the weather is very changeable (spring-like one day, blizzarding the next)

Giggling: over Ramona the Pest, which my husband reads to H at bedtime.  I’d forgotten how funny she is!

Snacking: on Greek yogurt, cream puffs, and cinnamon buns

Listening: to a lot of CBC Radio 2 lately

Taking Stock, February 2018

Reading:  Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley series -- I don't know how I managed to go so long without discovering these amazing books!  A friend recommended them last summer, and I only just got around to starting the series.  I blasted through the first 3 in as many weeks.  And I'm also enjoying Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher novels --  a lot lighter, and enjoyable in a different way.
Drinking: milky Earl Grey tea
Wanting: it to warm up so I can get into my skirts and dresses!

Looking: forward to visiting the new yarn store on the South side here in Edmonton, The Fibre Nook https://www.thefibrenook.com/  I haven't had time to visit yet, but I'm hoping to go to their drop-in time next Thursday
Playing: memory!  We have a Toy Story set with about a million pairs, and I just take out 10-12 pairs for Hazel, which is about perfect for her right now.  As she gets better I'll add more pairs to our game.  It's probably good for my mental development too, haha.
Deciding: on trips for this year.  We've got a month-long overseas trip booked for July, and we're thinking about a camping trip in Yoho National Park in early September.
Wishing: I could meet Trevor Noah in real life.   I know people are probably pretty different from their real selves on TV, but he just seems so smart and fun.  Also, cute as a dimple!

Above, some pictures from our trip to Jasper last week

Listening: the Ed Sheeran/Beyonce duet version of "Perfect" -- so beautiful!
Enjoying: a show by Vinok Worldance...the show itself was very good, folk dancing with live musicians backing, but the best part by far is seeing how excited H gets about dancing!  She even talked to the dancers by herself after the show, and they were so nice to her.
Waiting: Liking: brioche stitch -- I'm working on my first project in brioche stitch, and though it took me a couple of tries to figure it out, I'm really enjoying it now
Wondering: if I have time to fit a Carbeth Cardigan in my knitting queue...if I have to ask, the answer is probably no

Snacking: on Lindt chocolate bars!  Sesame dark chocolate is toasty perfection
Feeling: more comfortable teaching dance fitness, which I started in January, though I'm not totally feeling like an expert yet
Loving: British comedians -- we don't get any British comedy shows here, but it's easy to catch up with QI, The Mash Report, and Big Fat Quizzes on Youtube.
Pondering: how people ever managed to get anything done when they had to heat their houses with wood stoves!  Fires take a lot of love and care, people

Making: a gathered skirt, based on Gertie's tutorial
Cooking: pies! I've been in such a pie mood lately.  Trying to use up frozen berries and fresh apples, and trying to perfect my crust recipe
Considering: whether this is a good time to be purchasing a velvet skirt.  Spring is coming, and I don't think I'll get a lot of wear out of it when the weather is warmer.
Buying: not much, lately, which is a pretty good start to the year. 

Watching: the Olympics, of course!  And knitting at the same time, though I don't usually manage to get my act together in time to participate in Ravelympics
Marvelling: at how fast three-year-olds grow up
Needing: new jeans, but I can never find ones that fit me properly.  Am I the only one with this problem?  Anything that fits in the butt and legs is too small in the waist.
Questioning: whether it's time to put the winter clothes away.  Too early?

Smelling: nail polish...I've been making time to do my nails lately, which really brightens my day
Thinking: about how to set up my garden.  I have a new greenhouse this spring, so I am hoping to start plants in early April and thereby extend the growing season.  Homegrown eggplants, here I come!
Sorting: through toys and baby stuff, for a sale in April
Bookmarking: The Dead South's video for In Hell I'll Be In Good Company

Coveting: Office Tabs, because I tried the free version and it was so useful.  Like browser tabs, just in Office programs.  But I just can't bring myself to pull the trigger on the full version.
Disliking: how my shoulder pain from knitting is coming back, which is putting limits on my knitting time

Opening: coffee from The Roasters Pack, a monthly subscription service that I got as a Christmas gift.  I get three new coffees every month, with coffee descriptions in hipsterish detail.  I can't say I get all the flavours (my palate just isn't that finely tuned) but it's still really nice to try all sorts of different coffees.  So far I've tried Colombia Las Galeras and Ethiopia Sasaba

Taking Stock, January 2018

Making: sweaters and sweaters -- it's a race to the finish line!
Cooking: slow-cooker meals...any favourite recipes?  I made rice pudding today (not really a meal, but so good after skating!)
Drinking: coffee, always coffee
Wanting: new shoes for dancing; I've been looking at Ryka shoes, which are women- and dance-specific, but it's so hard to know about shoes just from looking online

Looking: at the beautiful snow falling...we've gotten about 80 cm since last Thursday. 
Playing: on my x-country skis in the snow!  The community league near us held a Skifest this last weekend, and they trackset the whole schoolyard.  We were able to pop out of the alley behind our house and get on a track right away, which is so amazing.  I wish we had more trackset trails here in the city on a regular basis.
Deciding: on trips for the next few months.  So far we've got one ski trip planned for February, and an overseas trip booked for July.
Wishing: it would warm up a bit so we could get out skating some more

Enjoying: the feeling of getting back into the routine after the holidays.  Vacation is good, but it's nice to stay busy!
Liking: my very old Bath and Body Works candle, in Dolce.  It's been a long time since I lit this, I'd forgotten how much I like the smell.
Wondering: how many books I can read this year...I've finished 7 so far, since January 1st
Loving: that my little daughter loves her first tap class so much!  She has an amazing teacher (she's like the Pied Piper with the kids) and has already learned to shuffle, after one class.

Pondering: why it took me so long to put a zipper into a knitted garment...it's really not so bad!
Considering: hibernating until springtime...remind me again why we go outside in January?
Buying: new winter boots!  I went for Sorels, which are big and clunky but very necessary for winter here.
Watching: Fargo...I blasted through the first two seasons (that's all Netflix has).  Gory, but amazing performances and fantastic writing.

Marvelling: at my first zipper sewn into a knitted garment!
Cringing: over my first time teaching dance fitness...I am really enjoying it, mostly, but I am the kind of person who can't really get over every single tiny mistakes I make, even when everyone else has.
Needing: to stop buying stuff I don't need!  Should I get on one of those buy-nothing projects?  I find it very hard to be that restrictive with myself, but I do know I function better with some rules. I started 2017 with some spending rules, and though I didn't manage to completely stop spending on things I don't need, I did greatly reduce my spending on clothes and shoes, which is a victory.
Questioning: why I can't get my own sister, a veteran knitter, to gauge swatch!  She's knitting a sweater for our brother and just flying by the seat of her pants

Smelling: fresh snow and deep freezing cold...it's weird how winter has smells
Wearing: my big Patagonia down parka -- it's like a sleeping bag come to life
Noticing: how a sick child really throws off the whole household's routine
Thinking: about baking, after watching Zumbo's Just Desserts.  The show is pretty standard as reality cooking shows go, but the desserts are beautiful and inspiring. 

Admiring: Trevor Noah on The Daily Show -- he is so smart!  I had my doubts when he first took over the show, but he's really grown into it
Sorting: out my dance routines...I've started teaching dance fitness classes, and it's so much fun!  We do cover three full cardio routines in the first two classes, though, so it's a lot of teaching for me right at the beginning.
Getting: impatient to have a few more sweaters done
Coveting: again from Zumbo's Just Desserts, the co-host Rachel Khoo's wardrobe is candy perfection.  I now really want a brightly coloured high-waisted full skirt so I can look effortlessly glam too!

Disliking: how much it costs to become certified as a Specialty Exercise Leader in Alberta - not that I think there should be lower informational and educational barriers for education, but that you get charged for every single little thing along the way (courses, exams, observations, etc.)
Opening: new shoes that are better than runners (which is what I've been using up until now) for dancing (ahem, speaking of things I don't really need, by the way)
Feeling: so good about being closer to my goal of finishing twelve sweaters!
Snacking: on Christmas baking still!  I have lots in the freezer that didn't get given away, and it's sooooo good.
Listening: to lots of good songs in my dance class; No Roots is probably my favourite

Taking Stock, December 2017

Opening: my new eyeshadow palette -- all sparkly shades, and new to me
Giggling: over my three-year-old's ideas about Santa and Christmas.  I asked her if she wanted to write Santa a letter and she said "maybe after Christmas"
Feeling: like I'd better get started on my resolutions for 2018
Snacking:  on dried fruit -- my wholesale order came in, with 25 pounds of dried apricots.  So far we've mostly eaten them out of hand, but I've also tried an apricot sticky toffee pudding and dipped apricots in chocolate.


Making: cookies, cookies, cookies!  Gingerbread, chocolate crackle, bronzies, shortbread...
Cooking:  curries, to fill the house with warmth
Drinking: eggnog (or, as my daughter calls it, "snowman stuff," because of the snowman on the carton)
Wanting: my Buttercream Clothing dress to come soon!  I love the dresses of theirs that I own and I get tons of compliments on them both.  It's taking a while because they only make it when you place the order, and I ordered on Black Friday.

Looking: at my Christmas tree and all the wrapped gifts underneath; so pretty!
Playing: "Got Your Number" by Serena Ryder, from her album Utopia
Deciding: what to bring to my in-laws' for Christmas...we're spending three days out at their acreage, and although my MIL is doing the heavy lifting in terms of meal planning, I feel like I should bring some fancy stuff along
Wishing: that I had a white tinsel tree and the time to make these giant paper flowers


Enjoying: holiday outings and parties...well, my taste buds are enjoying it; my waistline, not so much
Waiting: for the holidays to really start!  I'm so excited to eat, drink, be merry, rest and relax, and spend time with loved ones
Liking: Christmas with a three-year-old; what a magical age for imagination
Wondering: whether I'll be able to knit again soon!  My shoulder is still being cranky
Loving: IQ by Joe Ide -- I devoured this book in a couple of days.  The main character, IQ, is intriguing, the mystery is so well-paced, and the voice and tone is exactly right.  I hadn't seen any publicity for this author but as soon as I looked, there were tons of praiseful reviews.


Pondering: how I can up my Instagram game -- I want to be posting at least once a day in 2018, but I have to figure out how to make it into a habit.
Considering: whether I should pick up Bristol Ivy's new book, Knitting Outside the Box.  It looks like a really great book, but it's a bit pricey once you convert to Canadian dollars (even buying from a Canadian retailer)
Buying: more tape...so many gifts to wrap!
Watching: The Good Place -- I'm only on the first season, because I'm watching on Netflix.  I found this really good at the beginning, kind of dull through the middle of the season, and now I've got one episode left and I'm excited for it.


Marvelling: that I have kept up my bullet journal http://bulletjournal.com/ for an entire year.  It's made me so productive and I use it faithfully because it works (because it's so adaptable!).  My approach is pretty minimal -- I really admire the beautiful sketches and layouts on Instagram, but I'm not really a quotes-and-drawings kind of person.
Cringing: over how icy it is here.  We got tons of snow in November, then a warm spell with freezing rain, and so everything (like, everything) is coated with a thin layer of ice and man, is it slippery!
Needing: a better needle for my new crewelwork project, a kit I picked up at the thrift store
Questioning: my decision to keep starting new projects when I haven't been able to finish anything lately


Sorting: through all my stash yarn, to see what I can make
Getting: the Google Newsstand app, which is surprisingly good because it has a ton of content
Bookmarking: late-night comedians on Youtube, especially Samantha Bee
Coveting: alllll the yarn...I should stop window-shopping online.  I've filled and abandoned a lot of carts lately!
Disliking: or more like, Getting a bit tired of: all these year-end best whatever (TV shows, movies, music, books) lists, maybe because I'm not very zeitgeisty anymore

Smelling: cinnamon and ginger
Wearing: less warm stuff than you'd think; we've had an unseasonably warm December  
Following: American politics; isn't it sad that it's so all-consuming these days?  It really feels like we have much more important things we should be paying attention to.
Noticing: that Canada Post is delivering on weekends...not sure how I feel about this.  On one hand, more business for Canada Post is great; on the other, I kind of feel bad for the people who have to work weekends.
Thinking: that I have to get all my Christmas cards written and mailed, pronto
Admiring: all the Christmas lights around the city


Pictures from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (top to bottom)

Taking Stock, November 2017

Making: Lizzie sweater from Cocoknits Sweater Workshop
Cooking:  paneer, butternut squash, and chickpea curry with naan
Drinking: hot apple cider, stirred with a cinnamon stick
Wanting:  to keep the sweetness and wonder of a three-year-old in a bottle forever (last week she told me I was a landlubber because I don't live on the sea)

Looking: at the poor little snowshoe hare in the front yard, bedding down in the snow and huddling against the wind
Playing: a lot of indoor games!  Duplo/Lego is such a good toy for everyone
Deciding: that what other nuts, fruits, and seeds (and secretly, candy) I can make into these
Wishing: it would warm up just a little; -20 Celsius in November is a bridge too far for this Ontarian

Enjoying: pasta with red sauce and a fried egg on top...try it!
Waiting: for Christmas...normally I'm not too eager, but the snow has me planning out holiday baking and mocking up our holiday card
Liking: Ann Leary, an author I've only recently discovered (The Good House is where I started -- man, do I like New England novels)
Wondering: how I can fit more cakes into my life!  I've made two for birthdays this month:

Loving: my new Japanese Stitch Dictionary, which is so inspiring and makes me want to pick up the needles
Pondering: exercise physiology...studying for AFLCA exam, which is in less than three weeks!
Considering: whether it's too early to put up the Christmas decorations!
Buying: Flipside leggings from Encircled -- reversible and made in Canada!

Watching: The Big Fat Quiz on Youtube...my sister got me onto these and I cannot stop laughing
Marvelling: at how stubborn a three-year-old can be
Cringing: over how difficult it is to dance and yell at the same time...but I'm learning!
Needing: a vacation!  Christmas can't come too soon.

Questioning: which Christmas cookies to make this year.  I usually try to have a variety (one bar, one drop, one rolled, one molded, etc.) and to try new ones every year, and there are just too many to choose from. 
Smelling: coffee; always coffee
Wearing: cozy wool knits, like my True Friend, Icelandic Star, and Hawkherst sweaters
Noticing: Bristol Ivy's new book is out...have you picked it up? Some of the patterns look incredible

Knowing: that I spent too much on Black Friday sales...I shopped online and in person!
Thinking: about picking up the Winter 2018 issue of Interweave Knits (a ton of colourwork yokes)
Admiring: The Wailin' Jennys http://www.thewailinjennys.com/...no new album or anything, just diving back through my iTunes playlist
Sorting: all sorts of stuff to donate to charity...yay, decluttering!

Getting: apprehensive that I won't be able to achieve my twelve sweaters project!  Ack
Bookmarking: Ulla, a magazine of free knitting patterns in Finnish (some of the patterns are in English, and there's always Google Translate)
Coveting: a velvet holiday dress
Disliking: how housework is never, ever done...once you "finish," you just have to start back at the beginning

Opening: my new wireless headset microphone, for teaching fitness classes
Giggling: over how my three-year-old recognizes logos already.  She recognized the PC logo on the bottom of some silicone cupcake liners yesterday, and said she'd seen it when we did groceries.
Feeling: good about getting all my Christmas shopping done early
Snacking: on roasted pumpkin seeds!  Halloween bonus:  we always carve the pumpkin on the 31st, display it for the night, then cut it up, roast it, and puree it on November 1st.  It lasts for months in the freezer.
Hearing: podcasts (Call Your Girlfriend, Reply All, Double X, and Because News)

Thanks to Pip Lincolne of Meet Me At Mike's for the inspiration!