Friday, June 28, 2013

Simple Pleasures

I'm quite sure everyone is getting tired of hearing about our upcoming move. So I thought I would show you that it hasn't been all work and no play around here. In the midst of the people-made disaster we are living in right now, there have been a few spare moments to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

The Kamloops Farmer's Market has had local strawberries for the past two weeks. I felt especially proud of myself for arriving early enough last Saturday to score two baskets of berries from my favourite grower. Their berries are amazing! The week before I wasn't so fortunate. By the time I got to the market my favourite grower's berries were gone, and I had to resort to buying from the other vendor. She is a lovely lady, so friendly and helpful, but her strawberries are a bit iffy. I think of them as the fruit version of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans. There are delicious berries mixed in with mouldy ones, and you can never quite tell which it is you are getting until you bite into it.

Last week I had to go to the bank, a chore I usually detest. I was there to retrieve a document Rebekah needs so she can get her US passport. I had a moment of panic when they told me they no longer do the safe packet program, and hadn't for several years. Visions of them throwing out my unclaimed paperwork slowly receded as a vague memory began to take shape. A memory of me removing all that paperwork six years ago when we got a home safe. Oops. The document I needed was actually at home in my bedroom.

However, it turned out not to be a wasted trip. It was National Aboriginal Day, and the bank was handing out bannock to all their customers. I love this country! Seriously, where else could you walk into a bank and be handed a piece of bannock?

An old friend drove up from Richmond this week to have one last visit with us before we leave Kamloops. After we move we will actually live within an hour and a half of each other, which might make one wonder why he wanted to drive for four hours now, when he could wait a few weeks and be at our house in much less time. This is just a guess, but I think it might have something to do with his mode of transportation.

Yesterday I took some time off from packing and met a couple friends at Starbucks. We knit and talked and laughed and had a wonderful goodbye visit.

When I was editing this picture of the three of us I discovered a terrific feature to ToonCamera I hadn't been aware of. It erases wrinkles.

There has also been some knitting, and hopefully I will be able to show you a finished project in my next post. If only that finished project was the packing...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Picture Problem

As I have been sorting and sifting through our stuff one thing has become very clear. We have too many pictures. I have uncovered boxes and boxes of loose photos, photos in frames, photos of people I don't know, and photos of people I wish I didn't know. (Just kidding about that last one.) Some of these pictures are interesting bits of family history, and worth keeping a record of. For instance, this is my great, great, great (keep going a few more generations) grandmother, who was a Chippewa Native American.

Some of the pictures I have come across are gems, like this one of my dad with Karsten and Kellen. This is one of my all-time favourite pictures of the three of them.

Some discoveries are less than pleasant. There's not much I can say about this next one, other than it is amazing I'm not emotionally scarred. The 1960s were a scary time.

Of course all of these were taken in the Dark Ages Before Digital. I have come up with a solution that fits in with my theme of downsizing. This weekend when Rebekah and Anton come up, Rebekah is bringing her camera and skills, and she has promised to take pictures of all the photos I want to save. I will then load them onto my computer, and the physical copies are going into the garbage. Her "pictures of our pictures" will be much better than these poor examples in this blog post, which were taken with my iPhone. In fact, they should be pretty close to the originals. And much more space efficient.

"It is possible to own too much. A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure. "

Lee Segall

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Currently I am...

Looking at:

The rain. This is our second day in a row with a heavy rainfall warning in effect. I think this is the first time in the seven years we have lived in this desert climate we've had a rainfall warning two days in a row.


My walks. I tried to tell myself I should put my rain gear on and consider it training for my upcoming walk in Wales, and also my time in Shetland. It didn't work. Which means I am missing out on interesting sights around our neighbourhood like this gem I spotted last week, parked in someone's driveway.

It was the sign on the front that got my attention. Maybe it's just me, but it seems to me if your vision is so bad you have to warn people you can't see them, then possibly you shouldn't be driving the thing in the first place.


Shorts. I'm sure the forecast high today of 16 C must be a typo. Call me an eternal optimist.

Looking forward to:

Being settled into our new home.


Eggs from the farmer's market. I love how this carton had one so big the lid wouldn't close. I'm guessing it's a triple yolk.


I recently discovered As Time Goes By, a BBC show from the 1990s. It stars Judi Dench, and I have to tell you I have laughed out loud at every single episode. Given there are nine seasons of the show, that's a lot of laughing!


Between Weathers, by Ron McMillan. Apparently all those lovely photos of Shetland, the ones with the blue sky and calm water, were shot on one of the approximately three days of the year they experience good weather.


Because insanity (packing up to move) breeds insanity (starting a new sweater project at the beginning of the summer), I have just cast on this sweater in some lovely Spud and Chloe Outer yarn. I must remind myself that when I wear it I won't look like that beautiful young blonde model.

Laughing at:

David, who got his driver's licence on Tuesday, and on Wednesday asked if he could borrow my vehicle. Apparently I'm not the only eternal optimist in our family.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Projects, Old and New

I got side-tracked with my knitting. I really meant to knit just two pairs, but I couldn't seem to stop myself. The cute factor was simply too high.

All four pairs were knit with the same needles and pattern, but with different weights of yarn. The red and white socks were knit with a fingering weight, and they look like they should fit the new grandchild for approximately fifteen minutes before she outgrows them. However, I am counting on that being long enough to have her addicted to hand knit socks for life.

The pinkish pair were knit with a sport weight, and the yellow with a DK. It was interesting to see the difference going up a weight made in the sock's size. To help put these wee socks in perspective I placed a pair on top of a pair of my socks.

Moving from new projects to old...

Last week when Rebekah and I were cleaning out our storage room we ran into a couple of treasures. These treasures did not include an old show box that had just two items in it - one being an empty candy wrapper and the other a half-smoked cigar. How these things came to be shoved into our storage room, and who they might have belonged to remains a mystery. While it is true everyone in our family consumes candy, there isn't a smoker amongst us. There was another box with just two items. They were things I previously would have thought impossible to use in the same sentence. One was a remote control car, minus the remote controller. The car was sitting inside the other item, which was a German army helmet from World War 2. Words fail.

Treasure #1 is an extremely rare item. It is a completed knitting project that Alexandra made. The reason this is so rare is that in addition to numerous food allergies, Alexandra also claims to be allergic to knitting. She says it gives her a stomach ache. She made this doll when she was about nine years old.

Treasure #2 is a birthday card Rebekah made for Karsten. He was turning fourteen, which means she would have just turned eight.

We cracked up when we opened the card and read what was inside.

"Are you going to have a moustache and a beard? Even if you have either I still love you."

The Hammond house, where even deep cleaning can prove to be an adventure...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Thrill Ride

I am using one of my favourite tactics for dealing with jobs that seem overwhelming. Procrastination. Instead of being at home packing boxes for the move, Rebekah and I are down in Spokane right now visiting my mom. It was very nice having a travel companion on the long drive down, and even better to think it will be the last time I have to make the long, lonely drive from Kamloops to Spokane. The trip from our new home to my mom's will be a bit shorter, and it will be on a much better road.

You might think visiting someone living in a senior's home would be a quiet, uneventful experience. That might be true in most cases, but not if you are visiting my mom. I never know quite what to expect when I come down. This visit's excitement has centred around the car accident my mom was in a couple weeks ago. The good news is my mom wasn't hurt in the accident. The bad news is the car was.

Today she had to leave her car at the auto body shop and pick up the rental car. This might not sound like a big deal, but the thing is I haven't ridden in a car my mom was driving for about twenty years, and I was sort of hoping to keep it that way for the next twenty. However, she insisted that she would drive, pointing out "I might as well get used to it." What she meant by this was she would have to be the one to drive the rental car on the way back due to the way the rental car rules work.

Rebekah got into the front passenger seat, and I crawled into the back, thinking I might do better if I couldn't see what was happening. This strategy worked great right up to the moment my mom turned left into the parking lot for the body shop. That would be left, across two lanes of oncoming traffic. My position in the back right seat gave me the perfect view of the white car that missed us by mere inches. It was a close call, and brought back fond memories of some hair raising taxi rides in China back in 2009.

If I wasn't anxious to ride with my mom in a car she was used to driving, you can imagine my reluctance to be the passenger in one she wasn't used to. This time the view from the back proved to be quite entertaining though. We climbed into the car and when I looked up at my mom it was like she was Jonah and the car was the whale. The seat was so far back, and reclined backwards at such an angle that it gave the impression she had been swallowed whole. We had a good laugh about it, got her adjusted properly, and off we went.

I'm happy to report we made it back to my mom's apartment incident and accident free and I have been left with that exhilarating feeling one gets after a close call, be it real or perceived. My recovery strategy was to make myself a nice cup of tea. Rebekah's was to sit down with a crossword puzzle.

The picture was done using an app called ToonCamera, which happens to be free right now. (I would put in a link, but I am writing this post using Blogsy and can't remember how to do links with it.) Tomorrow we head back to Kamloops and Rebekah is going to help me work through the nightmare that is the storage room. That experience may prove even scarier than riding with my mom!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Details

Thanks to everyone for your congratulations on our house sale. And thank you, too, for your kind words of encouragement as I have gone through the past three months on a somewhat steady diet of Worry Soup. Several of you asked for details as to when and where we are moving, so here you go. And I would just like to say that I am so excited to finally be able to share this with you!

We are moving to a development at the south end of Cultus Lake. If you look at a map of BC and find the point that is geographically centred between where our five kids are living, this is about as close as you can get. It is 2 hours from Vancouver, 2 hours and 45 minutes from Kamloops, and about 4 hours from Victoria (an hour and a half of that trip is on a ferry).

There is a development there called The Cottages at Cultus Lake. If you follow the link and click on cottages, and then click on the site map and floor plans from the drop down menu you can see a drawing of the cottage we are buying. It is called the Laurel.

Not only is our new home situated close to our kids, it is also right next to a beautiful provincial park. I look forward to many hours spent exploring the hiking trails and beaches, and am hoping at some point down the road to buy a kayak. If you go to the link and scroll down a bit you will see a photo gallery, and those pictures will give you a good idea of what the surrounding area is like.

We take possession of the cottage July 16, so that gives us about five weeks to sort and sift through three decades of life and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Our current house is 3000 square feet, and the one we are moving to is 1517 square feet. So you can see there will definitely be more getting rid of than keeping.

In the midst of all this excitement I have managed to finish the baby blanket. There were two incentives to step up the pace, one being the fact Diana is due the third week of July and that suddenly doesn't sound too far off! The other is the infamous Kamloops summer temperatures, when it can be 35C or higher for days on end. Having a wool blanket draped over my lap as I knit did not sound very appealing. I'm happy with how it came out, and now that it's finished I can say I am glad I knit it. However, it was a good reminder that I am not, by knitter nature, a blanket person.

Here it is, all bright and cheerful, looking like "wool sunshine."

Sunny Baby Blanket

It still needs to be washed and blocked, but that got delayed when I discovered that Alexandra took the straight pins with her when she moved out last December.

The lazy part of me is tempted to skip the blocking part and just wash it. After all, there is no way it will get blocked every time it is washed once the baby starts using it. I'll leave it up to you. Should I wash and block the blanket, or just wash it?