It all came down to the last stone

A few weeks ago I won tickets to a curling game at a team-building thing at work. The tickets were for the final of the Brier, a rather major deal in Canada. The Brier is the Canadian men’s championships and the winning team will go to compete in the Worlds later this year.

So, yes, rather big deal here and I had a lot of jealous folks at work trying to bribe me to take them with me or even just buy my tickets. Given the interest, I decided that I’d like to go and I wanted to take a friend that I’d be able to enjoy the game with. My knitting friend C was the first person to show interest (who was actually here to go!) and so we were set.

I braved a new bit of the city to pick C up from her house last night and she directed me to parking not far from the centre where the game was being held. I’ve spent a lot of the week cramming so that I can understand the scoring and some of the basic rules. Watching curling during the Olympics was very confusing and I was determined that I’d at least know why the winning team won this time.

It was a total blast and much more exciting than I’d ever expected! C was a great companion, being enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fun. We both knitted through a lot of it with C providing commentary to explain tactics and strategy so that I knew why the teams had done things that looked, on the surface, nonsensical.

The two teams, Alberta and Ontario, were very evenly matched and they went into the final end with only a one point difference. That end was won by the team (cannot remember which, now) that had been behind and they were even on five points each. Oh noes!

This meant that they had to play an extra end to decide it, with the winner of that end winning the entire game. They both played very well and it looked like Ontario might win, but Alberta had the hammer (a very important curling thing) so they threw the final rock. Ontario had their stones so well placed that the only way Alberta could possibly win was to place their rock very precisely in the centre of the circles, which involved precision and getting the rock to curl around Ontario’s rocks.

It was incredibly tense watching the sweepers trying to get the rock to slide into the right place (and stop!). C and I were both certain that Alberta would come up short because the rock was going very slowly, but somehow it didn’t and Alberta won. Despite there being a bigger contingent of Ontario supporters than Alberta, the entire place erupted as that rock stopped and the atmosphere was wonderful.

The official game report is here, for those who are interested:

My first curling game was a huge success and I’m so glad that I opted and take a curling fan friend rather than letting someone at work buy them from me πŸ˜€

The only downside is that I got in from the game incredibly late (I’d just like to say that the organisation getting us out of the centre and the parkade was amazing – no queues, everyone out very smartly) and I’ve had about four hours sleep. Really looking forward to my bed tonight!

Catching up on many things


I’m making good progress on Brighton Take Too, the cardigan for my sister. I love the pattern, I adore the yarn (Rowan Cashsoft DK) and the combination of the two makes for a really great knitting experience. I did encounter a small technical hitch yesterday…

I was knitting merrily on the left front. Mum and I were having an evening with a DVD (something that hasn’t happened for a few days due to being really busy) so I got a ton of work done and was almost at the armhole. I was feeling so proud of how much I had accomplished. Then, just as the DVD was getting to the end, I looked down at my needles and quietly said “crap”.

I’d forgotten to change needles after the garter-stitch hem. So I’d knitting half a front on 3.25mm rather than 4.0mm. This is not a mistake that can be easily fudged.


I’m feeling proud of myself because, rather than trying to fudge or block it out or something, I actually ripped it back to the end of the garter stitch and started again. This is a huge change from what I would have done a year ago and I feel that it shows progress in my knitting because I’m actually willing to rip back and re-do rather than try to work around my mistakes.

Still annoyed with myself for making that kind of mistake, though.


I got brave and actually called my cable company! They’re coming out tomorrow to install the new DVR. As the cable company only has an HD-compatible DVR, I’ve also added in the basic HD package. So I’ll be watching House in crystal-clear hi-def. Yay.

Road Trip

On Saturdy, Mum and I went on a bit of a road trip. We drove down to Mahone Bay, stopping in at a yarn store in Upper Tantallon on the way. It was a beautiful sunny day and the drive was lovely. The first yarn store was tiny with a very chatty store owner, but she had some beautiful yarn. Mum bought some pretty stuff to make a shawl (feather and fan, making up as she goes along apparently) and I bought a skein of Malabrigo Worsted to make a hat.

At some stage I’m considering using Mal for a sweater but I want to see how it knits up, wears and washes before I commit to it and I thought a one skein hat would be an ideal test. It gets cold here. There is no such thing as too many hats.

Then it was on to Mahone Bay and lunch at the Biscuit Eater Cafe. We always go there for lunch and tea because their food is amazing and the service is so friendly. Plus they have chocolate expresso shortbread, which has to be tasted to be thoroughly appreciated. I also, um, picked up a couple of books there although not Nancy Drew early editions this time. Hee πŸ™‚

After lunch, we wandered along for a good poke around in Have A Yarn, still my favourite yarn store. I managed to find a skein of Fleece Artist Sea Wool in a gorgeous pale green/pink combo that I love. Mum bought some in dark burgundy/purple that I nearly took, but she was merciful and knicked it for myself so that I didn’t have to choose between the two colourways.

A skein of Handmaiden Casbah also fell into my hands, in variegated green and cream. It’s beautiful. It’s 81% merino/9% cashmere/10% nylon. Possibly the most indulgent socks ever. I love it.

Mum also picked up a skein of Tanis fingering in dark green and a pattern for some cable eyelet socks that she’s quite excited about. Yup, I’ve got her knitting socks πŸ™‚

With yarn cravings satisfied, we stopped in at the Tea Brewery for some loose leaf tea and then we hit the road to go home. All in all, a very satisfying and fun trip with some gorgeous pretties to show for it.

Cooking/Experimental Mondays

It seems that while Mum has been here, Mondays have become the day that I try out new dishes on her. Hence Experimental Mondays. So far we’ve had:

Week 1: Baked mushroom risotto (from Comfort Food) – huge hit, definitely one to do again. A little fiddly so possibly not one to make for one person, but it was absolutely fantastic.

Week 2: Meatballs in tomato sauce (from Comfort Food) – didn’t season the meat well enough and need a better substitute for pasata, but still very good and to be tried again. I have three portions in the freezer πŸ™‚

Week 3: Pork and ginger dumplings (from new Chinese cookbook) – another big hit, much easier to make than I thought it would be and the dumplings are probably best put together on the day of cooking rather than the night before. The dipping sauce was delicious and these are definitely being done again.

Week 4: Wild mushroom and broccoli flan (from Vegetarian Cooking) – very fiddly, good thing this was being done on a public holiday rather than after work. Needed two people to actually get it done in under two hours. The end result was really good and I’m enjoying eating the left-overs for lunch, but I’d need to find ways to stream-line the process if I do it again.

At the weekend there was also wonton soup (to use up the remaining wonton skins – huge hit for both of us) and a bittersweet Mexican chocolate torte that is fantastic. I’m keeping the Experimental Mondays idea after Mum goes because it’s a great excuse to try out new things.

Um, Mum declares that she’s going to miss my cooking immensely and does she have to go home? I think this is one of the nicest things she’s ever said πŸ˜€

Other miscellaneous stuff

The stuff I am doing at work right now, affectionately known as The Zombie Project (it keeps coming back from the dead and eating my brainz!), is horrible and evil but will look excellent on my end of year review. At least my boss is also hating it so we can commiserate. And my cubicle-mate is working on it as well. Our cubicle has become the cubicle of misery and doom.

Mum goes home in a week. Although there’s a part of me looking forward to having the house to myself again, there’s another part of me that’s really going to miss her. We’ve rubbed along pretty well and we’ve managed to work out a good friends relationship where neither of us feels that we’re beholden to or required to report into the other. I’m feeling much happier about her six month long visit next year now. In fact, I’m kind of looking foward to it.

With her here as more of a resident than a guest next year, I need to make sure that I take time to do stuff (fannish stuff, website maintenance etc.) that has been allowed to slide while I’ve been ‘entertaining’. There has been no writing and minimal keeping up with fan stuff and I miss that, darn it.

My sister will be visiting over (Canadian) Thanksgiving. This is awesome indeed πŸ™‚

Also, I’m really, really hoping that Doctor Who is aired the weekend before the anniversary. The fact that this will mean I have new Doctor Who on or just before my birthday is entirely beside the point…

Sun, sea and sand

Best Friend in America arrived on Thursday and we had a fabulous visit. I was sad to see her go yesterday 😦 Flights between our cities are so insanely expensive that we’re making plans to meet up somewhere in between (maybe Toronto or New York) next year. The cost of flights plus hotel room will actually work out less than the cost of a flight between our cities. It’s insane.


On Friday, I managed to work through lunch and get out of work early so I hightailed it home to pick up BFIA. She’d spent the day reading, playing with Kate and Annie and going for a short walk. Apparently I live in a really lovely place πŸ™‚ The weather was gorgeous, warm and sunny, so we went down to the beach and spent lots of time paddling in the ocean and walking along the beach. I really must remember to do that when the weather is good πŸ™‚ Then it was off for yummy sea food for supper followed by a cup of tea with my aunt, who was eager to finally meet the fabled BFIA!

On Saturday we set out for a drive down the coast, planning to visit Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. Incredibly, I didn’t get lost! There was a craft fair at Lunenburg so we ended up with rather a lot of fudge and jam πŸ™‚ We ate sandwiches on the waterfront and watched the sailing ships. Then we hopped into the car and drove back to Mahone Bay where we had tea (and amazing chocolate shortcake) at the Biscuit Eater Cafe and I got to pop into Have A Yarn. I emerged with some 2.5mm Addi circs, some 4ply alpaca to make something for a friend’s baby and a skein of Tanis sock yarn in a gorgeous shade of blue – score! The drive back to the city was smooth and easy, despite the Paul McCartney concert, and after a bit of time to read and relax at home we went out for a sushi supper.

BFIA’s main comment was “OMG, it’s so fresh!” She adores shrimp and my sushi place does amazing shrimp tempura. I’ve never tried shrimp tempura rolls before (although I don’t know why!) and I may have discovered a new favourite πŸ™‚ We skipped dessert at the restaurant in favour of the insanely indulgent ice cream that I had at home and, sadly, concluded that BFIA will have to visit me if she ever wants that ice cream again as it’s a local store brand. Heh.

Sunday was grey and rainy, so we decided to have a lazy day at home. We did venture out long enough to check out the local touristy gift shops and pick up some Tim Horton’s (she needed to see why TH is so popular here) but mostly we read, watched TV and played with kittens. Supper was pizza and salad, which was just right and it was great to just sit around gossiping.

I took a long lunch yesterday to take her back to the airport. Apparently she’s gone home with tales of beaches and amazing food, to persuade her husband that they need to take a trip back here because he’ll love it. Yay!

It was great having her to visit and I’ve finally been able to persuade an old friend that moving here was a great decision. So many of my friends don’t really know why I’d wanted to leave England and can’t understand that I don’t miss it. Of course, BFIA is probably the most likely to understand seeing as she left England years ago and now has a wonderful life in America. Perhaps if I can bring other friends over to visit and show them what my life is like, they’ll understand better.

I suspect that the weather probably helped πŸ™‚ This place in gorgeous, sunny weather is amazing. The days of fog and ick get a bit wearing and it’s harder (but not impossible) to get out and enjoy the beach and the scenery. But BFIA pointed out that the ocean is always pretty spectacular whatever the weather, and she’s right πŸ™‚

I’ve been thinking a bit about the move this weekend. When I was planning it, everyone kept reminding me that it wouldn’t solve all my problems and I shouldn’t expect to suddenly be amazingly happy just because I’d moved. So I set my expectations for how the move would affect me pretty low and it’s turned out to be a much bigger thing in the end. There weren’t any problems that I was running away from when I left, but I did leave behind a crappy job and a country that I didn’t feel offered me much. Coming here, I’ve gained a great job, better prospects for housing and life quality, surroundings that I love and a new group of friends that I love spending time with.

I’ve got a new life that’s quite different from what I had in England and, despite all those dire warnings, overall I’m much happier and more content than I was. So actually it has been the fix that everyone was warning me it wouldn’t be – how amazing is that?

Day trip fun

Today I decided to haul my aunt along on a bit of a road trip. It’s quite horrifying to think about how long it’s been since I went beyond the city limits – when did I become such a home bod?

The plan was to do my chores, pick up my aunt and get to Mahone Bay around noon. This sort of worked (except for the detour where we drove for 30km before noticing that we’d missed the exit for the 103 and then had to drive 30km back to it) so we reached Mahone Bay around 1pm. Lunch time!

We briefly considered the Cheesecake Gallery for lunch, but nothing on the menu grabbed us so we decided to reserve them for dessert and retreat to our old favourite, The Biscuit Eater Cafe and Bookseller. My aunt had a turkey, cranberry and goats cheese sandwich that I know from experience is always excellent. I was going to go for that, but then someone walked past with a bowl of chilli and I made a last minute change. It was gorgeous, although my favourite bit may possibly have been the buttermilk biscuit that came with it because that was fabulous. Their debit machine was acting up so I had to pay cash, which was actually good because I had enough for lunch but not enough for books and I’m trying to keep my book habit sensible even though I’m no longer officially dieting.

I did pick up a couple of chocolate espresso shortcakes to take home because they are mind-blowingly good πŸ™‚

Then it was off to the main reason for the trip: Have a Yarn! Here I was very good and bought what I intended without being tempted into extras, although I did feel up a lot of fabulous yarn. They have some new stuff in that I must investigate at some stage: 100% machine washable mini alpaca in fabulous colours that is amazingly soft and would be wonderful for baby knits. Hmm, who do I know who is having a baby in the next few months…


All that beautiful yarn worked up a dessert appetite so we popped into the Cheesecake Gallery for some lovely chocolate cheesecake. It was a baked cheesecake (love), chocolatey without being too sweet and just the right texture. Heaven on a plate.

My aunt then picked up some tea at the Tea Brewery (lemon rush roibus is so good) and we had to pop into a jewellery store that had a beautiful pearl necklace. I’ve bought a gorgeous thing that will hopefully look great with the bridesmaid dress next month: grey and dark pearls, none of them worth much because they are totally imperfect but they’re so pretty and put together so nicely. Now I just need shoes!

Then it was back home where I dropped my aunt off and, er, stopped into the second hand bookshop. Somehow one book multiplied into five. Oops.

But I do have a copy of Spock’s World now! And another Diane Duane! And a Lois McMaster Bujold!

I figure that I can Bookmooch any that I don’t want to keep because tie-ins are rarely (for me) things that I enjoy so much that I want to keep them to re-read. We’ll see how I do.

And now I’m quite tired and ready for a quiet evening with the my knitting and Ashes to Ashes. It was a good day.

Home from vacation

I’m sitting in my kitchen feeling very slightly disconcerted. I got home from work nearly an hour ago, the recycling has been put out, a cup of tea is beside me and I’ve spoken to my aunt yet it’s only 5.30pm and the sun hasn’t even begun to set yet.


Obviously I’d been a little lax about this ‘getting home at a sensible time’ thing before I went on holiday because I’m not used to having this sense of tons of time in the evening. Or possibly it’s because I usually have several chores to do when I get in and today I have none. Whatever. It’s quite a nice feeling to have sometimes.

Obviously I got home safely, although sadly I was felled by the return of the stomach bug on Monday (that didn’t really go away over the weekend if I’m honest) and thus the end of my vacation wasn’t quite as planned. It also made my flight yesterday a little less fun and I was so tired (lack of food more than anything else, I suspect) that I was in bed by 7.30pm last night. Thankfully I’m feeling better today, tired and wobbly but better in myself anyway.

The thing that I’m realising is how nice it is to sit in this kitchen in the evening when the sun is still up. I’m looking out at the ocean from where I am, enjoying how beautiful everything is. There are only a few traces of snow in the yards now and it feels like Spring may just be around the corner. It’s reinforcing that the things I miss about England are people rather than things, because I couldn’t swap this view for anything.

I do miss my parents and sister right now, but thankfully not much more than before I left and I know that will settle back in a few days. If I could have Canada with my parents and sister living right here then it would be perfect. It’s not going to happen, I know, but it would be lovely. At least I’ll get Canada with my parents living here in a couple of years.

The cats have mostly forgiven me for leaving them and I’m looking forward to getting settled into my life again. Tonight I plan to do a bit of writing, have some supper and then watch some TV (Holby City and ER, I think) before having another early night. Tomorrow is knit night and it’s the birthday of a good friend there, so it won’t be an early one I suspect! Then it will be Friday and my weekend, hoorah! I need to get to the farmers’ market on Saturday. The green veg in the store was dreadful (I’ve resorted to broccoli again as the only halfway decent veg) and I have no eggs. Then I need to stop into the library and Bulk Barn because I have an overdue book and I’m almost out of pasta. My aunt is staying over on Saturday night so I’ll be going through my recipe books to figure out something yummy to feed her.

Yeah, I think things are going to be OK. And the ocean really is beautiful.

Security clearance, Redemption and rugby, oh my!

Oracle Reports is a thing of pure, unadulterated evil *sigh*

Apparently I need a certificate of some kind to say that I’m not a criminal in the UK for my security clearance for the semi-government job that I’ve been doing for three months. A little behind there. Anyone know anything about how I go about applying for such an item? I’ve googled and the only things that I can find are CRB checks (employer initiated, for people working with children) and a police national computer certificate that’s only for emmigration purposes. In fact, the Met Police site specifically says that they do not do police vetting for employers. Presumably this does not include government security type vetting, but there is nothing to say how one goes about applying for that kind of certificate presumably because it’s something that employers (i.e. government) usually apply for. Any ideas, oh wise (and international) blogiverse?

In other thoughts, I’m starting to get organised for the trip. I don’t think I’ll have to worry too much about my luggage allowance on the way out, but it’s starting to look like I’ll have a lot to bring back with me. Hmm. The good thing is that my carry-on luggage is more of a wheel-on this time and there is no way in heck that I’ll be filling it. So it might be that all the yarn I buy can go in there. Alternatively, I’ll put my leather coat in there and pack the yarn in the checked baggage.

I’m taking both the cameras, although I think I’ll only take the little camera to the con. I need to buy myself a small, zipped thing to put essential knitting supplies into (scissors, pins, cable needles, crochet hook etc) so that I can just chuck my sock into a small bag at the con. It will also stop me losing things out of my big project bag.

I definitely need to spend some time at the weekend burning DVDs for my father. And tonight I need to spend some time photocopying a few things for people. Somewhere in there I need to edit a fic and email it to a beta. And I need to do a proper, full back-up of the lappie onto my new big hard-drive. Why is it that there is always so much to do when prepping to go anywhere?

I also need to buy train tickets for the con. How early does anyone in the know think that I can arrive on the Thursday and have some hope of checking in and dropping off baggage?

One rather excellent thing that I’ve discovered is that there are no Six Nations matches that weekend. I think it might be the first time I’ve gone to a con without having an important rugby match on the same weekend. Hooray! Even better, the following weekend is a match weekend so I’ll be able to watch lots of lovely rugby with my family. Solo rugby watching isn’t quite so fun as it sounds.

Don’t suppose any of my new knitting friends could be persuaded to watch rugby with me? I’ll explain the rules! Except the offside rule, obviously, because that’s even less obvious that the offside for football. And I am still struggling a bit with one or two of the new rules that completely ruin any changes of a good driving ruck. Or possibly maul. The one where they stay on their feet, anyway. Watch me be a rugby know-it-all!

Six month emigraversary thoughts

As of today, it is now six months since I moved to Canada. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown! There have been ups and downs and the winter has not been easy, but overall it’s been wonderful and I’m absolutely certain that I made the right choice to do this. It’s been a huge learning experience in more ways than I could ever have imagined.

Things I have learned:

How much do I love heating? Thiiiiiiiiiis much

My furnace has been repaired. Apparently whoever did the servicing in the summer didn’t do a great job of it because the filters were clogged, something fell apart when he touched it and it was a miracle that it had been going at all.


Very glad to have a working furnace heating my house again. Today, at least, the temps were just above zero so it could have been much worse. As it’s going down to 15C tonight, there was no way that I could be left without heating!

Unfortunately, that totally foxed all my plans for the day. I’d planned to go to church, pop to the library and then do some bits and bobs around the house before talking to the parents. Instead I curled up under blankets with tea, kitties and a book to wait for the furnace guy and then he took an hour to fix the furnace. So I’ve talked to the parents and made jelly. That’s the sum total of today’s activity.

I’m thinking about trying to start the story for a challenge that I entered. Not due until April but…it might be a good idea to at least get something on paper πŸ™‚

Is there anything I can bring from Canada for people who might actually see me while I’m over? Apart from snow boots and snow shovels – Mum already tried to persuade me to bring some and they just won’t fit in my luggage πŸ™‚

I had a whole thinky post about tomorrow being my six month emmigraversary. I’ll post it tomorrow because it will be more appropriate πŸ™‚

Sea mist

This morning was incredibly cold. We’re talking so cold that I coughed every time I took a breath outside, that cold. I seem to be handling the cold better than the snow, though.

That’s not the point of the story.

It’s going to be a clear day and I’d forgotten just how beautiful the day can be when it’s crisp and cold. Then I got to the end of my road, looked down towards the ocean and saw the thick layer of sea mist out there. It was amazing, this cloud of white mist that drifted and shifted only a few feet over the sea. I wish that I’d had my camera and a few minutes to photograph it.


In other news, my back is playing up 😦 I didn’t do anything special to it last night, I had a comfortable seat at knit night and yet by the time I went to bed it was throbbing and hurting. If my rheumy X-rayed me right now, I’m sure that a ton of inflammation would show up, it was that kind of pain. Unfortunately, that meant I didn’t really drop off to sleep until 2am and my alarm goes off at 5.45am. Yeah, I feel good.

I did get the heating set a bit better last night. I left it a degree higher in the main house than I usually did and pushed the dial up a little in my room, so I wasn’t frozen when I woke up and it wasn’t completely unpleasant when I got out of bed. Heating will resume normal status when the weather warms up a bit, but I was so glad this morning that I’d done that.

And now I shall go and take some painkillers and get on with my work.

What I did on my weekend, or yarn, cookies and Doctors, oh my

Kate, who is still curled up in my lap, officially gave up on staying awake a moment ago when her head thunked down onto my leg and she started gently snoring. I love my cat?

This holiday season has been a bit of a wash out (or should that be snow out?) as far as getting out and about is concerned, so on Saturday we decided that it was time for a day trip. Thankfully the weather co-operated and it was cold but beautifully sunny. Little debate was needed to decide that Mahone Bay was our destination so we called around to check that our destinations were open and bundled into the car.

We got there just in time for lunch and popped into my favourite bookshop/eatery, The Biscuit Eater. I’d link to the website, but there appear to be some issues with pop-ups eating computers right now so instead take a look at the address and phone number on Canpages. Sadly the only vegan lunch option (black bean soup) had sold out just before we arrived so Da settled for a large muffin while the rest of us tucked into sandwiches and drank Christmas Tea. Two lovely old Nancy Drews fell into my hand on the way out, sadly πŸ™‚ And we had to buy some of the chocolate espresso shortcakes to go because they are too gorgeous for words.

Then we walked down Main Street to Have a Yarn where I bought Mum some sock yarn for Christmas and my sister picked out a pattern for leg warmers to give herself a real project work on. I bought the yarn for a couple of small projects that cannot be talked about and treated myself to some Addi Turbo circular needs in 4mm and 3.25mm. I’m already a convert – I love them!

Finally, we stopped in at The Tea Brewery where I managed to resist the temptation to buy more tea (really, I have far too much already) but did find myself a little two cup tea pot so that Sunday afternoons with tea can be even more decadent.

After that, we decided that it was time to go home (Da was cold and I didn’t want to drive home in the dark) so we picked up my aunt on the way home and had a lovely family evening.

Yesterday was a quiet day at home, undecorating Christmas trees and generally getting things sorted out around here for my parents’ departure. We went out for dinner with my aunt last night so that my Mum could say goodbye and the parents gave me the good news that Mum will be coming out for a six-week visit in the summer. Hooray!

And that is how I spent my weekend.

If anyone wants to chatter about Doctor Who and that huge casting spoiler announced Saturday afternoon, feel free. Everyone else, be aware that there will be spoilers in the comments πŸ™‚ I shall just say that, after a bit of thought and research, I am quite optimistic about it all. Really, the actor is secondary to what the great Moffat does with the writing.

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