Saturday, November 24, 2012

MOvember and Lights

The MOvember movement has spread around the world, a fundraising and awareness campaign for prostate cancer and men's mental health issues.

Usually men grow their moustaches during the month. We at the Morning Star had a whole 'nuther campaign in mind. To wit: shaving salesman Bruce Rasmussen's moustache OFF.

Bruce has had a fuzzy upper lip for nigh on 40 years. The challenge was conceived, the bounty set ($2,000) and the posters made (we are BIG on posters - no shame or thrown gauntlet goes unnoticed).

Oh, and then we told Bruce that we published the poster in the paper.

He protested mightly, but then rose to the challenge with grace. And then was almost shocked at how quickly the funds flowed in to our coffer.

At the $1,200 mark, the moustache was removed with great pomp and ceremony, right at Bruce's desk:

Bruce watching Lisa with a slight bit of apprehension.

Oh sure, he's laughing now, but things were much more sober when
she pulled out a safety razor for the other half of the 'stache.

All done! Looking great ... and yes, that's shock on Bruce's face, glee on Lisa's.
So many people have told him how much younger he looks, he's now saying he's not going to grow it back. His mom was outraged that we 'made' him do it and threatened that it had best be grown back by Christmas. When she saw the pictures, however, even she changed her mind and one of his sister's sent us a generous donation.

The weather continues mild in the Southern Interior. I took advantage of a nice day last weekend to begin putting up outdoor lights. The trees at the south end of the yard are getting big enough to support some strands of LED lights.

The old-style lights are heavier and so threaded through the fir trees at the north end around our fire pit area. 

I used up all the strings of lights we had and went shopping last night after work for a few more ... always a few more.

I get quite agitated by Christmas hoopla and consumerism but can't get enough of Christmas lights. Maybe it's all the years in the long dark winters of the north country.

Talk about Christmas expectations yesterday prompted me to offer my recurrent complaint: for what other child's birth do we whoop it up before the delivery and then stop celebrating the moment the child is born?! The 12 days of Christmas are from birth to Epiphany.

I hate to rag on about it, but every year it bugs just that little bit more.

As I said to a person once (and recounted to the other Brenda yesterday) "If you don't believe in the Child and the birth, then who invited you to the birthday party?"

Deeeep breath.

Grey Cup tomorrow. The 100th and a classic match-up between Calgary and Toronto. That'll put life back into perspective.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Floors, Costumes, Backyard Tourism and Gordon Lightfoot

So, as I've been reminded, I owe you some photos.

Part 1, Chapter 1: painting the floor

'Before' painting the floor.
Hard to get an accurate photo under florescent lighting but the concrete is grey.
Trust me. Photo looking to SW corner of house and basement walkout door.
View out the walkout, to the south and Taktakmin Mountain across the valley.
Floor cleaning tools in foreground: garden hose, boat brush, bucket o' citric acid.

'After' photo, after many hours of scrubbing stubborn stains
(why oh why didn't I do this the first summer?!), after painting and after 3 days of drying.
 Part 1, Chapter 2: Bryan is currently working on framing the walls for wiring and finishing.


I haven't got complete photos of the entire costume yet ... never mind why.

This is one of the patterns I used. You can find it here.

Pattern for the medieval dress ... in Finnish with annotation in Canadian.
The surcotte pattern is similar but without sleeves and with longer armholes.
You'll notice that there aren't many curves in the layout and yet it is a very full skirt. That is due to the gussets set into the sides, front and back. It's a modified pattern - a 'real' medieval pattern would be entirely squares and rectangles, necessary to maximize handwoven yardage - expensive in the time and labour required to produce (again, trust me, I've woven handspun).

Laying out the dress pattern. 
This is the underdress being cut out. The surcotte (below) was already partially done. I was frustrated with some aspect of it, so hung it on Dummy Girl and proceeded on this piece. Once I cut it, I realized the neck opening was at too acute an angle, so trimmed it and adjusted my paper pattern. I also added gores in the underarm to make them fit more comfortably with better movement.

The surcotte on the dummy (and 'she' doesn't do it justice) prior to
tweaking and hemming.Taken at the same as above photos. You'll note the classy room I sew in.
When the front half of the basement is done, this is next to be done.

It's funny. We get caught up in the day to day stuff of life and forget that we live in one of the playgrounds of the world. 

Sunday morning two weeks ago, I proposed a day trip to Naramata. We'd been housebound with crappy weather and needed to blow out some cobwebs. Bryan had never been to that side of Okanagan Lake, so off we went.

Despite the covercast cover, or perhaps because of the dull light, the fall colours were gorgeous.

Looking south along Okanagan Lake from the east shore, at the end of the road north of Naramata.
The  Naramata Bench is an area worth taking some time to explore. In terms of wine, there are 21 vineyards on a very short stretch of road. It's not all wine, though. There are

It's not all wine, though. There are galleries and bistros, walking trails and spas. A nice place for a weekend.

Looking more west from the same spot as last photo.
Summerland is on the other side of the lake, as is Highway 97.


It's Gordon Lightfoot's 74th birthday today. I heard that on CBC driving in this morning. In tribute to a great songwriter and performer, I played "If You Could Read My Mind" video while working on ads. Second favorite Lightfoot song? This one: Canadian Railroad Trilogy

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Let Me Sing You a Song of Apples

When I was a little girl, I wasn't really very fond of apples. There were two varieties available on the prairies - Macs and Red Delicious. The first were only good for a few months in the fall, and then they became pithy and tasteless. The second - well, to call them 'delicious' is a travesty.

Things got a bit more interesting when I first tasted a Granny Smith. Now there's fruit with a bite! Tart, tasty. A walk on the wild side!

Fuji was the first apple that lead me onto the road of a true apple aficionado. Then Braeburn. Then Pink Lady - oh, I still like them.

And then we moved to the Southern Interior, home of BC Tree Fruits and all things apple, and I fell completely and totally in love.

I have three varieties that have dominated my apple indulgence this season.

Aurora Golden Gala

 Aurora is a child of the Okanagan, developed in Summerland as a hybrid between 'Splendour' and Gala. Like so many of these apples, they are only available in the region, although I think they are making their way across the country now. Auroras are crisp and sweet, a great dessert apple.
Royal Gala
 Gala is one of the workhorse apples that can often be found in our house all year 'round.

But this ...... this is the absolute love of my apple life:
Honey Crisp

I will go out of my way for a Honey Crisp apple. They are everything an apple should be - the name says it all. The juice fairly runs down your chin when you bite into one of these.

And it's funny to be thinking about apples because, besides this type:

Good ol' MacIntosh 
the other one that dominates my life is this type:

The Other good ol' Mac

We recently underwent a significant software upgrade at work, from CS3 to CS6. I can hear the inhalation of breath from the techies in the crowd. Yes, a three-generation leap, a quantum leap. 

I explained it to a friend like this:

You are a competent and experienced car driver in North America. One morning you wake up in England (never mind how, it's a parable!) and are expected to drive a car ... in which the driving position and controls are all in strange places, the traffic signs are unfamiliar, the traffic travels in opposite direction to what you know, and oh, by the way, they forgot to give you a map to your destination. But hey, you're a driver, right?

And we are professionals and generally adapt well. The incidence of stress migraines has been on the rise, however.

Glitches inevitably find their way into every crack and crevice. Just the other day, several co-workers discovered that their headaches were due in part to insufficient RAM - working memory. With many machines being upgraded simultaneously in addition to peripheral upgrades to match the new system, things get forgotten.

Happily for us, it's easy to install memory cards in Mac computers.

And then our I.T. guy did something incredibly brave ... or foolish.

He left us with a screwdriver and just enough hardware knowledge to make us dangerous.