Sunday, December 31, 2006

I got brave

Yep - I got brave - and changed the blog layout.

If you're reading this, and don't really understand what a feat this for me, I've only had one class in HTML, and that was about 12 years ago, when the internet was still in it's infancy, and the instructor told us to "harvest" (his word) or "copy" (my word) code from other web pages on the internet. To put it mildly, I'm totally HTML illiterate. So changing the blog and making sure that things got back to where they were supposed to be was a challenge. I ended up doing it twice before all of the stuff that I have co-operated.

In other news, Happy New Year to everyone who reads. I honestly never thought I'd keep up with this whole blogging thing, but have been pleasantly surprised with the results. I've failed to keep journals in the past - I usually write one entry at a significant point, and then don't write in the journal for months. So actually writing a regular (or semi-regular) blog entry has been a challenge.

I sometimes find it a challenge to be honest when I blog - everytime I write something that I consider really "me", I see one of those career counsellors on TV, and they talk about how blogging can form a negative impression of you to potential employers. I haven't a clue how people would find this blog if they didn't know me before hand, but there are some things I don't write about here to be on the safe side. I'm getting more comfortable with sharing some of myself with the world, so I hope you get a chance to see the real me at some points in time.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Bargain Bin

I was at my local needlwork store today - I needed a few things, and I thought they might have a sale on, so I decided to stop in. They did have a sale, including a bin of charts that obviously weren't selling or they were looking to get rid of. As I was going through the charts, I noticed one by a BB member who used to be quite active on one of the boards I frequent. She's since stopped putting out new charts, and it was sad to see the last remaining stock my LNS had in the bargain bin. She's not the only one I remember who's stopped designing and stopped posting on the boards I read.

I've noticed that many of the boards I read are less active in the past couple of years, and I don't know if it's because people aren't stitching or they aren't posting, or they are posting, but are posting on board that I don't read. Or, it could be that they blog, and don't post as often.

It's sad to see the end of some of their charts and patterns - I do have one or two of hers, and someday I'll get around to stitching them. She was (and is) a lovely designer, and I hope our paths will cross again someday.

A New Years Meme

It's almost the end of 2006, and although I'm not sure how it's possible that a whole year has gone by, I thought I'd post a new year meme:

What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?
Visited Morocco & Mexico
Slept in the Sahara
Went on a large cruise ship
Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't usually make resolutions - I think I've already started by 2007 one.
Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friend Karen did - a big welcome to your life to Tasha too...
Did anyone close to you die?
What countries did you visit?
The United States, Mexico, England(in transit) and Morocco
What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
More time to travel and a travelling companion
What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory?
I don't really know if there is one - March 17th and November 10th were the days that I left on vacation, so I don't really know if they count
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Staying in a job for the whole year - last year I had 3 - one until the end of January, one between February and November and a third between November and the end of the year. This year, there's only one, and I really like it
What was your biggest failure?
I don't know if I really had one - 2006 wasn't a year of real highs and lows. It was kind of steady.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had some doozy's of colds. Nasty, nasty things
What was the best thing you bought?
I bought some lovely dishes that I'm so happy with, and an MP3 player, so I can join the rest of the world and a new laptop
Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Oprah, Bono
Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Belinda Stronich,
Where did most of your money go?
The mortgage (sadly), exercise, travel.
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The wedding of two good friends, hockey
What song/album will always remind you of 2006?
Hips Don't Lie - Shakira
Compared to this time last year, are you:
  • happier or sadder? happier, I think
  • thinner or fatter? thinner (yeah!)
  • richer or poorer? richer, I think. And not just in the monetary sense.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Laugh, travel, enjoy good friends
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stress, worry, fret
How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent Christmas with family, chilling out
Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
The girls out east
Did you fall in love in 2006?
How many one night stands in this last year?
None - perhaps that's a good thing
What was your favourite TV programme?
Grey's Anatomy
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I think hate is a strong word, but there is someone I don't like as much as last year
What was the best book(s) you read?
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
What was your greatest musical discovery?
The MP3 player - I'm so behind in the times
What did you want and get?
New dishes, a big trip somewhere
What did you want and not get?
a promotion
What were your favourite films of this year?
I don't think 2006 was an amazing year for films, but Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and Harry Potter 4 were on the list
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 32, and I spent my birthday in Toronto on a business trip
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Winning the lottery!
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
It involved a lot of black, and was kind of yuppie chic
What kept you sane?
Lampworking, stitching, red wine, good friends.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy)
What political issue stirred you the most?
Kyoto / greenhouse gasses - probably because it's so close to home. Everyone wants something done about it, but no one wants to actually pay for it.
Who did you miss?
All of my grandparents and my babysitter
Who was the best new person you met?
My 11 co-travellers in Morocco. They were (and are) some of the smartest, most interesting people I've ever had the pleasure to meet. And they made a good trip that much more memorable.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
I learned that chasing after someone else's idea of perfect or good doesn't get you anywhere.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
" Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go.
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why.
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time."
(Green Day - Good Riddance (Time of your life))

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How do I lose a crazy person?

I just got a Christmas card from a real-estate agent. I'd call her my real estate agent, but she never really was, so I guess she's just "a" real-estate agent for the moment.

I was out in the neighbourhood for a walk about 2 years ago, and wandered into an open house. It was a gorgeous house, but was about twice as big as I needed and twice as expensive as I could afford. So the real estate agent that was there offered to show me a few houses in the areas I was looking, at a price range that was more in my budget. Wonderful - I thought.

We went out one night to look at houses. I'd had a nasty day at work - I was in the process of switching employers, and things were going rather badly in the middle of it. But, since I'd made the appointment, I thought I should keep it. We looked at the houses, and then she asked me if I'd like to stop for a drink. I was kinda thinking a glass of wine / cocktail at a lounge so we could chat about what I'd like in a house. (And trust me, as an extremely picky person who's in full control of what is purchased or not purchased, there's a lot a real estate agent should know about what I will be buying, or more precisely, not buying)

We didn't go for a quiet drink... we went to a live music place where I had a drink, and she had many. So many we ended up calling a driving service to get the two of us home. On one hand, I commend her for being responsible and realizing she'd had too much to drink and not driving home, but on the other hand, I'm a bit stunned as to the logic behind getting plastered while your client drinks something not containing alcohol. At least she paid the tab.

She some how hasn't managed to figure out that 2 years later, I don't really want anything to do with her. But today, I got a seasonal card in the mail, with "Hope 2007 Rocks!" written in it in metallic silver pen. I was stunned. I think her chances of getting a commission out of me ended with the last episode. But 2 years later, I still get strange Christmas cards from her.

I'd love to end the relationship completely, but I think I'd have to move or piss her off to do that, but I don't have the energy for either at the moment.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How cute is this......

I know... three cat pictures within a week. Not good. But they're so sweet. Especially when they've discovered the unmade bed with a nice soft quilt on it.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Alhambra and Buttons

I finally have an Alhambra update - I've actually worked on this quite a bit over the last couple of days, and have made a little bit of progress on it. It's looking more and more like a half square instead of the one-sided thing it looked like for a long time.

I was up at the glass studio on Saturday, and while I was playing around, I figured I'd try a button or two. I'm in a biscornu exchange early next year, and wanted something cool to put in the middle of the biscornu. I tried a few with flowers on them, but those buttons don't really look like anything at the moment (I need more practice). But the frit covered ones are looking pretty good, so I thought I'd share. You can see the top of the middle buttons and the shanks of the buttons on the side. These have all been annealed - I'd be afraid to make buttons without annealing them, as annealing slowly cools the glass and makes the glass less likely to break.

Christmas Eve Dinner went well - this was my first attempt at turkey and all of the sides. (To be fair, my Mom brought a veggie, so it wasn't *all* of the sides, but it was pretty close).

The menu ended up being:
Ruby Slippers (Champagne and Cranberry Cocktail)
Apple/Cranberry/Walnut Brie Melt
Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry/Orange Relish
Mashed Potato
Herbed Sweet Potato
Green Beans
Plum Pudding

It was all yummy!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday - however you are spending it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The phone company

I read Michelle's post with interest this week, as my phone company has been exceptionally nice to me. Exceptionally.

I don't know if it's some sort of end of year promotion, or after strike deal or an attempt to fight other service providers, but this is the list of stuff that has been sent or been given to me from the phone company this week:

1) Magnetic Gund stuffed animal in the shape of a monkey, via registered mail, last Saturday. This came with a 2007 calendar and a thank you note for being a good customer.
2) Chocolate bar - Tuesday morning, handed to me on my way into work after getting off the train. Outside wrapper and logo imprinted on the bar were both of the phone company.
3) Plastic lawn flamingo, handed to me on the way home from work on Wednesday afternoon. Pink, plastic and came with 2 free metal legs.

I have no idea what's up with the phone company.

Oh - and for those who are interested, the kitty pic was taken when the kitties just woke up from a nap. They aren't really that amazing that I can stick stuff on their head and they just don't notice. They noticed, but were too sleepy to complain much.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Do we look happy?

A couple of people mentioned the kitties in the tree photo below - I thought I'd share a couple of photos that I took last year. And no, the kitties aren't happy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The tree!!

I love stitching Christmas ornaments - they're small, let you be creative with colours and fibres and they give you a sense of accomplishment. So it's no wonder that my tree is filled with cross-stitched Christmas ornaments. Many of the ornaments have been exchanges on various BB's - TWBB or Needle and Thread. Hopefully you can spot something you made !

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday Night

I went to a pot-luck tonight with some friends - I decided to be brave and try something that I hadn't tried before. These are from the latest issue of "Cusine at Home", which I adore! They are chipotle chicken with guacamole underneath, and boy were they good!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Great Frit Question

Michelle asked yesterday what "frit" was - frit is little pieces of glass that are melted onto a larger molten piece of glass. They're kind of like sprinkles for glass. The unmelted frit that I used to make yesterdays bead looks like this -it's filled with all of the greens, browns and whites that are incorporated into the bead. The bead started out as a base of turquoise, was rolled in the frit above, was covered in clear glass and then had swirls of sparkly gold attached. It's good stuff!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New bead.....

It's late but I had to's made with a frit called "Casablanca", which I think suits the bead perfectly.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mail Call

I received this *gorgeous* package today from Su who was my exchange partner in the Robin's Nest Stocking Stuffer Exchange. She figured I liked sparkly things from the title of the blog, and stitched me an ornament to match! What a sweetie!

And Michelle, you can definitley be in my PIF - just send me an email with your address and I'll get something in the mail to you shortly. I just got new glass frit in the mail today, and I'm dying to make something with it. (Frit is little bits of coloured glass, and you roll molten glass in it to make it pretty.) The colours I purchased were from Bead Goodies and the sample beads are drool-worthy, so I'm hoping that mine turn out well.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Meme stolen from Kati

This is a closeup of the lampwork from the last post - I keep trying to get my camera to take better pictures of things, and maybe this is one.

This one looked like fun, so I thought I would give it a go. I stole this from Kati.

If you like then go ahead and copy, bold the things you’ve done, and post.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (I think it was somewhere in New Zealand, and everyone was on our group tour
02. Swam with wild dolphins (It was actually a dolphin, singluar, but I still did it)
03. Climbed a mountain - a couple actually - Gros Morne in Newfoundland
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid - well.... I was next to the Great Pyramid, but I think it still counts
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried "one"/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Saturday, December 09, 2006

New Bead Happy Dance

I finished this today - I'm quite happy with the way it turned out, even though I had to restring it to get it to look the way I wanted it to. The two larger beads at the bottom are my lampwork beads, and I was really pleased with the way they turned out. I had been wanting to use that particular colour for a while - it's a very, very pale blue, but I think it looks nice when there's quite a lot of it.

There's still room in the pay-it-forward, so leave me a comment if you're interested. It's doesn't really matter if you're a regular blog reader, as long as you can (or are currently) trying to pay others forward.

Back to Stitching (and a Pay it Forward)

I have been neglectful in posting a piccie of the gorgeous ornaments I received from my exchange partners! I participate in the TWBB ornament exchange each year, and I sent three ornaments out this year. The three ornaments I got back are gorgeous, so I thought I'd share a picture here.

Thanks to Terry, Anu and Amanda for stitching these.

I'm also starting a pay it forward, after seeing similar ones on several blogs. For the first 5 people who want to participate, I'll hand make something for them of my choice. To participate, leave me a comment and send an email to caycay at shaw dot ca letting me know that you'd like to be in the pay it forward. There is a catch of course, you must continue the gift by blogging this challenge yourself!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The coast and Marrakech (Morocco Post 5 of 5)

After coming out of the desert, we headed to Essaouira, a seaside town. The fresh sea air and relaxed attitude were completely wonderful, and of all the places in Morocco, Essaouira is the one place that I would most like to return.

Most of our group endulged (or endured, depending on how you looked at it), in a traditional Turkish bath called a hammam. The bath involves being thoroughly scrubbed down, and after spending a week in the desert, I needed it! I felt much cleaner after having been through the experience.

Essaouira offered great markets, and I bought a few things, including some scarves and a small painting. The range of spices, leathers and other goods was fun to browse in. After a couple of days in the town, we were able to negotiate most of the labyrynth of streets in the souk, as the town really isn't that big.

After Essaouira, we headed back to Marrakech. We had a full day in Marrakech, so the morning was spent negotating and purchasing heavier objects that wouldn't have travelled well during the previous two weeks. I bought a small tagine here, which is a traditional Moroccan cooking dish. The tagine is also the name of the food that is cooked inside the dish, and tagines are similar to stews.

Marrakech was also the day of our great adventure to visit a local Koranic school. The school had been abandoned, but was supposed to be a good example of art work in Morocco. We headed out on what we thought was the best path, and an hour later, discovered that we were totally lost. We paid a couple of local boys to find the school for us, and still were walking for another half hour, twisting and turning through the souks and medinas as we went. It was a fantastic spot though, and it was one of the highlights of Marrakech.

Most of the group departed the next day, but I still had an extra day before I headed out. I spent a bit of time exploring the city, visiting a set of tombs and an abandoned palace in the city. The tombs were not that interesting, but the palace was fairly interesting, if only because of the huge number of cranes that had made nests on top of the palace walls.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mountains and Movies (Morocco post 4 of 5)

I've been busy over the last few days - a hockey game and my first day back at work seemed to take up most of my free time. I've managed to come down with something stomach related, so I fell asleep early last night and slept right through until this morning. Hopefully a good 12 hours rest will cure whatever is going on.

At any rate, from the desert, our group headed out into Ait Benhaddou and the spectacular kasbah there. This location is just outside of Ouarzazate, which was featured on last week's episode of the Amazing Race. It's a region that has been featured in a ton of movies, including Gladiator and Jesus of Nazareth. The Kasbah here is still lived in by a couple of families, although most of the residents have moved into town.

We had dinner that night in the home of a local resident. His other profession is being an extra in all of the movies that take place accross the road, so he wanted to tell us about his movie roles. He was rather shocked that myself and the girl I was rooming with had never been married, and he offered us 10,000 camels in exchange for our hands. (Although part of the bargain was to come and help him make couscous, which I don't think is my idea of fun)

We then travelled into the High Atlas Mountains. Morocco is definitley a country of contrasts, and while the weather was very temperate in the cities, it was downright chilly in the mountains. I was glad I brought a fleece and warm clothes for this portion of the trip. We had spectacular weather for this period - the fall colours were beginning to appear, and we had a clear dry day to enjoy them with.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Desert (Morocco Post 3 of 5)

Morocco - days 5 through 8 - The next part of the trip saw our group head into the desert after visiting the Imperial Cities in the north. (The complete itinerary for the trip is here if you're interested).

We left Fes and spent the next two days travelling to our Saharan campout. Our travels took us to the northern half of Morocco only, but we still had some serious ground to cover between locations. At the end of the two days, we were greeted with a spectacular Saharan sunset, as well as our travelling companions for the next two days - our camels!

For Christine and Shalini, that is me on the camel! I don't have many pictures of my self, as I don't really like being photographed, but that one came out not too badly. Our camel guides provided the desert headwear from scarves that we had purchased in Fes. To set the record straight - camel riding is not as glamourous as it sounds. Most of us discovered that we're not practiced in camel riding, and came home with a number of new aches and pains. That being said, I'm proud to say that I rode a camel in the Sahara.

After our camel riding adventure, we were off to climb the Todra Gorge. We spent the better part of a day driving to the gorge, and had a whole day to complete the climb. The climb took about 4 1/2 hours, and provided some spectacular scenery. No wonder that the rock climbing scene from Mission Impossible II was filmed here. You can see where it was filmed on the right side of the last photograph. (If you've seen the movie, Tom Cruise opens the movie by rock climbing).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Casa to Rabat to Meknes to Fes (Morocco Post 2 of 5)

The first load of laundry is in the washer, and I need to make a grocery store and post office run shortly, but I thought I'd try and make another post before doing so. This and the preceeding post will be posted in a short time frame, so if you've not read the post before this, have a look at that post too.

The first couple of days of the tour were full of sightseeing! We tracked along the imperial cities in the north, heading out on the train from Casablanca to Rabat. The train system is fairly well developed in Morocco, and most of the trains were on time.

Morocco shows influences from just about everywhere in Europe - the French, Spanish and Portuguese and Romans were all in Morocco, and there is definitley a strong Islamic influence in place as well. Rabat definitley shows the Portuguese influence well, with whitewashed walls and blue doors.

We only had part of the afternoon in Rabat before boarding another train and heading on to Meknes to stay the night. The next morning, we went out sightseeing. Meknes is home to a huge grainery which used to store grain for horses. Apparently 12,000 horses were fed from the grain stored in the vaults here, and it's no wonder considering the size of the place. I caught a taxi up to the graineries with the girl I was rooming with, and I was glad that there was someone else there, as we were the only two people in the place! If this place looks familiar, it was used as part of the set for the "Last Temptation of Christ".

Lunch in Meknes was camel burger! Our tour guide helped us buy camel meat from a butcher in the market, and had it ground up with spices. She then took us to a very small restaurant nearby where they shaped the meat into small balls and grilled them for us. The meat was put into a pita-like pocket for consmption later. Lunch, of course, came with a glass of mint tea.

After lunch, we boarded a mini-bus to take the group to Volubulous, a Roman ruin between Meknes and Fes. We had a private tour of the place, which was largely deserted when we were there. The joys of travelling in off season!

The bus then took us on to Fes. Fes is largely regarded as the cultural capital of Morocco, and they are proud of the cusine and local attractions there. Our group split into smaller groups in order to take advantage of a few local guides. Our guide took us to view the city of Fes, and to the mosaic factory and tannery located inside the city. If the tannery looks familiar, it's been shown on "The Amazing Race" before.

Our dinner that night was a Moroccan feast set in a riad. Riads are traditional accomodation which features rooms set around a central courtyard. This riad had been beautifully done up, and we all had an excellent meal there.

Typical Moroccan cuisine features tagine, cooked in a dish of the same name. It usually is meat accompanied by some vegitables and cooked in a small amount of liquid to make a stew-like consistency. Typical combinations include preserved lemons and chicken, meatballs and tomatoes, and beef and prunes. Its traditionally eaten using bread as a scoop, but fortunatley most restaurants also provide forks. Other dishes include brochettes, which are meat skewers, and couscous, which is a the name of a small grain, similar to polenta, as well as the name of a dish. The dish version of couscous has the grain plus vegitables and meat.

Jet Lag is nasty (Morocco post 1 of 5)

It took me 24 hours to navigate from Casablanca to Calgary, with 3 plane flights and a couple of short stopovers. I got home last night at 2am and was exhausted, but it's now 6 am and I'm wide awake. I've still got that dead tired headache and I'd love a couple hours sleep.

At any rate I thought I'd share a couple of photos of the trip. I started in Casablanca with a couple of days on my own. The tour left pretty much straight away, so I wanted a couple of days to tour Casablanca and do a few things before the tour left. There wasn't all that much to see in Casa, but I managed to get a few mint teas in before leaving the city.

Mint tea is a glorious beverage in Morocco - it's fresh mint leaves with a good shot of green tea and about as much sugar as can be saturated by a tiny cup of water. It's presented in high style - most of the time the tea is poured out of a teapot into a tiny glass cup from a great height. Pouring the tea this way perfumes the room with mint, and the whole thing is lovely to drink.

Casablanca shows lots of evidence of French architecture, even if it is from a different era. One of the photos below is of a hotel that is now in ruins, but the hotel is so iconic that it made the picture list anyways.

The first official day of the tour featured the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. It's huge. Not just a little big, but huge as in could house St. Pauls or Notre Dame huge. And the grounds are enormous. It's also gorgeous and very modern at the same time. The floors are heated, the roof retracts and the doors are hydraulic. It's a real marvel.

One of the amazing things about being on this trip was that there were only 12 of us, we could basically do what we liked a lot of the time and it was off-season in Morocco, and thus there weren't a lot of people at many of the sites we went to. This means that there aren't a lot of people in my photos. I don't really like people in photos, but in some places I've visited there are too many people to try and get them all out of the shot. We arrived early here - about an hour before the first tour, and basically there were only the 12 of us on the grounds that morning, and we got to take an hour of photos before any of the other tour groups showed up.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Homeward bound

I leave Marrakesh tommorrow to head home. I will miss a lot of things here, but am glad to be on the way home.

I love the fresh mint tea, and the ability to read my book in a cafe. I will miss hearing the call to prayer. I will miss the colours of the souks, with all of the pottery, leather and spices in them.

I have enjoyed the trip, but can't wait to be home again.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Still here....

I finally worked out how to change the keyboard back to an English one! It's amazing what having a few of the characters out of place can do to you. I'm still on holidays and loving every minute of it.

Today we tried a traditional moroccan hammam, which is a type of spa. The treatment was fantastic, and we all are feeling much better (and much cleaner) for having gone to the hammam.

We're on the coast, which is lovely. It's full of fresh fish and seafood, which is a welcome break from the traditional food that we've been having for the last week. I forget how much I miss living in a cosmopolitan city with so many dining options until I leave and my dining options are much more limited. That being said, the food here is wonderful and I'll try and cook some of it when I get home.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I think I have the keyboard thing mostly worked out - it's quite slow to type as some of the characters have moved. (and I only just figured out the appostrophe)

I'm on holiday in Morocco, which has been fantastic and wonderful in ways that I didn't expect. I didn't expect to find the food so good (and so far safe). And I didn't expect to find such lovely people - the people on my tour and in the country have been wonderful and intellegent.

More later.....

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Officially on holiday

It's been an interesting one - the hotel only gets the Real Madrid channel in English and I'm trying to type on a non-english keyboard. More later....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I am still here...

It's been a week since my major volunteer project was completed, and my schedule is still going strong - Saturday was mostly running around, and a hockey game afterwards. The Flames didn't win, but it was still nice to catch up with friends.

Sunday I went to meet the other bead making enthusiasts in town, and then had my parents over for dinner. I've got a wedding to go to this weekend, and am leaving soon to go on vacation, so I wanted to catch up with them before I left.

The exciting stuff that happened this week - I bought a new western shirt (which always makes me happy) and work is going smoothly, which always helps.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The busy-ness......

The last couple of weeks have been manic - I sometimes take on way too much for commitments and end up paying the price later.

I volunteer (and have volunteered for several years) with some of my favorite people - they're all lovely, but the work that I do sometimes takes a lot of time. And I'm in the middle of it at the moment. But it will be over soon.

At that point, I'm hoping to be able to get back to stitching. At least a little bit. And maybe making some beads.

In other news - tonight's hockey game rocked! Woohoo! The Flames actually scored (and on the power play, double yeah!).

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The beginning of a new week

There are days that I wish Sunday would extend on forever - mostly because it goes by way too quickly, and the onset of Monday means that I have to go back to my day to day life.

I managed a quick visit to the zoo in town today - nothing really new, and none of the super-cute baby animals that happen in the spring, but nice to get out all the same.

The rest of the day was spent on a project that has to be done on Thursday. I think my part is almost done, but you never know. I've got the kind of day tomorrow where I honestly don't know where I'll find time for dinner, so I'd better not get too many questions on it. Either that or I'll hide. Actually, hiding doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

In other news, my winning streak seems to be continuing. Of course, now that I've written that down, I will not have a snowball's chance in heck of winning anything for the next millenium. But I did win a gift card at work on Friday - it was an off-site fun afternoon, and there were door prizes, and through some unknown miracle, they pulled my name.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A real post

It's been a crazy, insane week, but the insanity has to be done by Thursday, so I'm almost there.

I saw this on Christine and Patti's blog, and so I've shamelessly ripped it off.

1. FIRST NAME? Karin
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not that I know of.
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? I can't remember - I usually cry at airports, but I haven't really had to leave anyone lately.
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I think so - although I know I don't appeal to everyone.
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Not a paper one, just this blog
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I'd only jump in New Zealand - I told myself I would if I ever make it back there.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Cracklin' Oat Bran (which is not available in Canada)
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not usually, although I don't have very many pairs that tie.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I think so - somedays it takes a lot just to make it through
14. SHOE SIZE? 6
15. RED OR PINK? Dark Pink
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I miss my old babysitter.
18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Not if they didn't want to.
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? I have a red tank top and blue and white pj pants on - they don't really match, but they are Pj's.
20. LAST THING YOU ATE? A really awesome german dinner with duck breast. I met friends for dinner.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The sound of Pirates of the Caribbean from the other room and the dishwasher
27. FAVORITE DRINK? Red wind
28. FAVORITE SPORT? Are there other sports besides Hockey?
29. EYE COLOR? Grey-blue
30. HAT SIZE? Um? Small?
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yes - sometimes glasses
32. FAVORITE FOOD? roast chicken
(Where'd #34 go?)
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer!!
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Sticky Toffee Pudding
39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Not sure on that too
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? A Thousand Barrels a Second (Peter Tzerkian)
41. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? One of the statues at Abu Simbel, Egypt
43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? The purr of my kitties, the laughter of friends.
45. THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME? I think it's Alice Springs, Australia
46. WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I'm completely boring and have none.
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? About 5 minutes from where I live now
48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I borrowed it from Christine and Patti

Friday, October 20, 2006

I'm still here...

And exhausted.

Off to bed.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I thought of you today

I did a personality test at work a while back, and it said that I was the kind of person that needed to think about things for a while before I acted on them. I suspect that this is where this post is coming from...

I thought about a friend of mine today - I was in his favorite city - the one he cheers for in hockey, and a city he loves. He and I haven't been close lately, but we used to be, and I thought about him yesterday as I was in the arena, and as I was in his favorite city. He's had a hard road, but I wish he knew how much I admired him for taking the hard road, the one not travelled. Actually, I wish he knew how much all of us admired him. So for you, D - cheers - from all of your friends.....

I'm back....

I've successfully been to Edmonton and back this weekend - a couple of friends and I saw Delirium by Cirque Du Soleil this weekend. It was their first show mounted for arenas, and it was quite good. All of their other shows have been in stand-alone theatres (i.e. Vegas) or have been under the big top, so it was neat to see the adaptations that they had made to the show to mount it in a sports arena.

It was sprinkling rain this morning, which didn't make the drive back any more fun. I at least got to stop in at the mall, to make sure that I wasn't missing anything new and exciting in the city 3 hours north. There's rumours of an H&M store opening in Alberta sometime in late 2006 or early 2007, and I'll be *all* over that. H&M is by far my favorite store, and considering the nearest store is several thousand miles away from me, it makes up an alarmingly high percentage of my wardrobe. But it's cute, and cheap, and I've been fortunate to buy the clothes in cities that are several seasons ahead of where I live now, so that the clothes are reasonably in style for a while. What more could a girl ask for?

I hadn't actually driven to Edmonton for ages, as I used to fly up when I went regularly. It think the last time I drove myself there was in 1997 for the U2 concert, and I forgot what a terribly boring drive it was. The problem was that the more bored I was, the faster I went, which wasn't really a helpful situation. Fortunatley the highway is mostly straight, and wasn't terribly crowded this weekend, so I could get away with doing that. (And the cops were no where to be seen, which also helped)

I leave on vacation in 4 weeks. It's scary, as I have a large number of things to sort out, and my calendar is hugely packed between now and then. I need advice in a bad way. I've been fortunate enough to have many friends and co-workers that have passed on their photo albums and such, but it's still a very daunting task.


Friday, October 13, 2006

It's Friday!

And I'm so glad! It's been a short week at work, but even then, it's felt way too long.

I hit the local food and wine festival tonight after work with some friends. We tried a couple of new liquers - a chai tea one, and a pomegranite one. Both were very good. The chai tea liquer was especially good - it's supposed to be out in the stores here shortly, but I guess it hasn't hit the shelves yet. I'll be on the look out for it when it does.

I got a bit of stitching in the other night, and I'm planning on stitching a bit before bed tonight too - Alhambra Garden is getting there slowly... very slowly!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's almost the weekend.....

This week has been a busy one - I am still trying to recover from my cold of last week, plus I've had something almost everynight this week. Fortunatley, most of the stuff has been fun - I had tickets to the ballet tonight, and I have tickets to Cirque De Soleil on Saturday, which I'm very much looking forward to.

Tonight's ballet was wonderful - the ballet here gives tickets away to younger patrons to get them interested, and so I got tonight's performance for free! (Yeah for free!) It was a wonderful collection of short ballets, and I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Stitching Blogger's Question

It's been forever since I answered one of these, but I thought since I remembered this week, I would give it a go:

As we all know, stitching in the winter can really be rough on the hands. What do you do to treat your hands well in the cold winter months? Do you have any suggestions for creams or soaps? Or perhaps a special regimen that you would like to share?

I don't do anything special, but if I notice that my hands are getting really rough, I'll take a teaspoon of sugar and rub it into my hands with a little oil. I learned about this from a friend at university - mostly because you could get little packets of sugar at the cafeteria, and that would be enough to do this type of hand treatment. It was pretty much free and easy - the perfect thing for university students!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Alhambra Update

I realized I hadn't posted an Alhambra update in *forever*, so here it is. This weekend has been terrible for stitching, so I didn't get a lot done.

Good News

I've managed to get a nasty, awful cold over the last couple of days, and it's not making my life happy at the moment. It's a busy time at work, and I've had some volunteer commitments to take care of, so having a nasty head cold in the middle of it hasn't been much fun.

I did manage to get out to the Flames game on Saturday. I took a friend who had given me a pre-season ticket to the game. We had dinner at a restaurant near the arena before hand, and on the way out, we dropped our names in a bucket for a draw for a couple of tickets.

The restaurant called today, and I won the tickets! I have two tickets to a game two weeks from tonight. They're awesome seats - lower bowl and in the middle of the arena. I'm very excited about the whole thing. I can't even remember the last time I won something like this.

I also got taken to lunch today. Last week we had a big push on at work to collect money and items for a major charity in town. One of the contests was to collect the most goods for the drop-in centre. Our group managed to collect quite a number of items, and so the whole group got taken to lunch.

So its been a good day - free lunch and free tickets!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thanksgiving - round 1

I'm starting out with new beadies, because that's been the most postive part of my day. They're a new colour combination that I was playing with, and I quite like it. I should be working on a scissor fob for a stitching exchange, and I'd like to incorporate some beads, but haven't quite decided how to do it yet - if I put the stitched part first, then beads then a tassle or if I put beads and the stitched part in place of a tassle.

In other news, I've attempted to make a pie crust twice this morning, and am about to give up and go on to pumpkin creme caramel, which doesn't require any crust. I'm a pretty decent baker, and have had good luck with pie crust before, so I wasn't that put out by making one.

The attempt at making pie crusts were a disaster, to put it mildly. I trust Cook's Illstrated implicitly, and pulled out "The Best Recipe" this morning to find a recipe for pie crust. I even had all of the right ingredients - unsalted butter, vegitable shortening, etc. The recipe called for 4-5 tablespoons of cold water, but by the time I'd put about 4 tablespoons in the food processor, it was clear that the crust was going to be glue. I can't even describe what this resembled - it was sticky, gooey, and it was clear that the mass of dough that I had was never going to be pie crust.

So I started again. This time I got about 1 tablespoon of water in before the dough became a ball, so I stopped. I refrigerated the dough, rolled it out, and somehow got it in the pan. It was soft, but at least the dough resembled pie crust. I chilled it again (as per the recipe) and started to bake it. The finished result was somewhere near shortbread, only not quite so nice. Most of it stuck to the foil which was supposed to be shielding it from the baking process. Needless to say, all of it is now in the garbage.

I think I will switch to pumpkin creme caramel. I love the recipe, and so does my Dad, who will also be at dinner tonight. It's easier, and most importantly, there's no crust.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

All I have to say is

Go Flames Go!!!

The home opener was fantastic! Way to go Flames!

(if you haven't noticed by now - the Calgary Flames are my favourite hockey team - and they won tonight 2-1 over the Edmonton Oilers!)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I think I owe an explanation...

For my last post.

I take two dance classes on Mondays - back to back. The second one is particularly aerobic, and I've gulped most of the litre of water I bring with me by the time I hit the car on the way home.

So I get in the car on Monday, and start to drive, hitting the a major road in downtown Calgary - one that runs along the south end of downtown. And I see some one in the window of one of the apartments. He's moving rather oddly, and as I get closer, I realized he's got Dance, Dance Revolution on his home TV. And he's really giving it - not gracefully, but he's there nonetheless.

I have to pass by the same route on Tuesdays - about the same time. I notice that the same apartment now has two sheets tacked on to the windows - so Dance, Dance Revolution is no longer visible.....

Monday, October 02, 2006

Thought for the day.

If you *are* going to practice Dance,Dance,Revolution in the comfort of your own home, it would be best not to leave the blinds open in your second floor apartment, especially if it's on a major street.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How did it get to be Wednesday?

It's amazing how fast the week flies by - especially when you're busy! I take dance classes twice a week, plus play sports another, so it's often much later in the week before I even catch my breath.

My digital camera batteries died, and I need to do something about that, because I owe people pictures of beads. I should have some to post here too! I feel like it's been too long since a picture broke up the un-ending stream of text that goes here.

Oh - and I got two exciting things yesterday - one is the 2006 JCS issue! It's finally arrived in Canada. I have several stitching projects to get done in the next little while, and there are lots of great projects in the issue. I need Christmas ornies for the TWBB exchange, plus a fob for the Robin's Nest exchange. I'll have to get cracking on those! I have great plans for the fob, but we will see how everything turns out.

The second exciting thing was the new book "U2 by U2" - it's just drool worthy. I had no idea that it would be this fantastic, and that the memebers of U2 would be that open and honest about their lives. I've loved U2 for a long time and I feel like I've grown up with them to a large extent. I think I "discovered" them in high school sometime, and they've been a part of my life ever since. I went to the last concert of their North American tour in Portland, Oregon last year, and it honestly was one of the highlights of the year. I thought I was going to cry when they played "40".

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's Sunday....

And I'm up watching the bit of Coronation Street that I didn't watch during the week - we get it slightly delayed from the UK, so we're still on New Year's episodes here. I became addicted last summer when the CBC went on strike, and they needed to show something, so they filled the air with at least an hour of Corrie a night, which they replayed from 7am to 1pm on Sundays - it was a fantastic way to do nothing on Sunday morning. They're now on a half hour a night, plus 2 1/2 hours on Sunday - still not a bad way to start the week.

I also picked up this month' editions of both of my favorite cooking magazines - Cuisine at Home and Cook's Country. Cook's Country is put out by the authors of Cook's Illustrated, which is hands down, my favorite cook book ever. Cusine at Home is fantastic, but I get they feeling they put a lot of their best ideas in to their recent weeknight cooking magazine, and are now struggling for ideas. Last month one of the recipes called for a pint of blackberries to make a sauce. I'm all for having a nice meal, but blackberries around here are a fortune, and I'd rather not cook them beyond oblivion when I do get them. The cost of some ingredients is my major complaint with a few cookbooks that I own. For instance, you can now purchase passion fruit here (this is a recent development), but they cost enough that the grocery store cashier gives both you and the fruit funny looks when you check out. The cost of the fruit makes them a very rare treat in my household - not something that I would purchase for a recipe.

Spoilers from Grey's Anatomy - to tell you the truth, there weren't really that many spoilers. Meredeth does make a decision about Finn and Derek, but it's not what I would call a spoiler. (This will make sense when the episode is aired).

I also stitched on Alhambra last night. I finished another page! It's only one of the small corner pages, so it was mostly white space anyways, but it was a page nonetheless. My camera is currently out of batteries, so as soon as I buy some fresh one's, I'll post a piccie. I'm going to have to switch to Christmas ornaments soon, as I will need to get those completed and mail them out in the near future.

Friday, September 22, 2006

More than I bargained for

It turns out that the local Canadian affiliate accidentally aired the wrong episode of Grey's Anatomy last night - we got week two here in addition to week one. The minor gaffe was all over the news this morning, and a couple of people were quite upset about it. I'm quite surprised at the reaction the whole thing is getting - I mean it's only 7 days in advance, and there wasn't a huge amount of shocking stuff in the second episode. (Or maybe there was - I guess it depends on your perspective)

At any rate - it's Friday! I'm so glad the week is done!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Woo hoo - it's premiere time!

Tonight was the Grey's Anatomy premiere - great episode, and I can't wait to find out how this all plays out. It's one of only a few shows that I love on TV - Grey's Anatomy, Law and Order and Amazing Race have to be my favorites. I bought the Season 2 DVD last week, so I can catch up on anything I might have missed last season.

I'm supposed to be keeping a journal for ballet class on Monday. I go to ballet as my form of yoga - something to keep my mind and body in balance. For me, it's not about the end. I've known for a long time that I'm never going to dance professionally, having picked up my dance "career" at the age of 20-something, having left it off at the age of 8. And knowing that allows me a certain amount of freedom in dance class - its now about process, rather than perfection. It's about getting away for the evening, and doing something for myself, rather than about any specific acheivement that I have in mind.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

If it's Tuesday it must be.....

Every now and again, I wonder why I take on as much as I do - activities, volunteer, other things. Today's schedule involved an 8 hour work day, 3 hours of meetings outside of work, 2 more hours of volunteer work, and a dance class. I love it all, and I'd hate to give any of it up, but somedays I wonder how I do it - and why I do it. I think volunteering in the community is one of the best things I do - I love it, and love the impact that it makes on people's lives. And I need to exercise - mostly because it keeps me sane, but also because it's a break from sitting on my backside for the other 13 hours a day. So I do it - and at somepoint tonight I'll sleep, and begin it all again tomorrow.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I forgot (duh!)

This is the latest Alhambra garden update - I managed to finish another page of the design this week, and complete a little bit of the next page!

I'm seriously behing in blogging.....

It's been a busy week, and I don't know quite where it's gone. All of the things I got to take a break from over the summer are now back. The break was nice, it left me refreshed, and it made me miss all of the things that I really enjoyed.

Dance classes started up Monday - I remembered how much I loved them, and watching everyone else the first class made me feel not quite so awkward and clumsy. I started dancing last spring, and there were a number of people in the class who had either taken dance before, or just were naturally gifted in dance, and I always felt like the ugly step-child - not quite as pretty or as graceful or as perfect as everyone else. This year's class brings a whole new group of people who are going through the same learning curve that I went through last year, and it's neat to see how far I've progressed.

I went to a friend's henna party last week - she got married last Thursday, and the wedding was out of town, so very few people were actually attending the ceremony. Last week she had everyone over as she had her hands and feet henna'd, and most of us got our hands or feet done a little bit too. I'm now very glad that I did the design on my foot - my skin and hair take dyes and chemicals very well, and a week later, the henna shows no sign of fading. I love the design, but I'm very glad that it's the kind of thing that I can hide easily, and not have to go through 3 or 4 weeks of people asking about it every time I turn around. I was surprised about how little time the henna takes - the young lady who came to do it was obviously accomplished, and she did most people freehand in no time at all.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

It was 5 years ago today

I remember the morning well - I had just got out of the shower, and the TV in my room was turned to CNN, just like any other morning. I remember that it was showing pictures of New York - the towers. The first plane had just hit, and the second one was on it's way in. I remember getting a call from my roommate, telling me to turn on the TV, and I knew it was real.

It turned into a strange morning - like anything on a small island, news turned into gossip and then into pure speculation. But I remember how quiet the island was. The flight path for the airport was right over the island, and after living there for more than 2 years, I knew the entire plane schedule by heart. But that week, there weren't any planes, just quiet. The roads were quiet. The island was quiet.

Many of my colleagues didn't make it - I'd never met them, and in ordinary circumstances, I wouldn't know that they'd exist. We all worked for a global company with thousands of employees. But now, they were among the people who'd gone to work early in the towers on Tuesday. They were among those that didn't make it out. The first plane flew into the floors where one of our offices was located.

It doesn't seem possible that 5 years have gone by. 5 years of living a changed life. 5 years of losing an innocence. But it has. And with this, I send my thoughts to those that are left - the rescue workers, the families, the loved ones and those left behind.

It's been a busy week....

The end of ball arrived - we ended up in 6th place in one league and 3rd in the other, which I don't think is too bad. I've played with one team for the last 4 years, and you can definitley see the difference between the first year and the most recent year on that team. I think we came in dead last in the first year, and we came in 3rd this year, so it's been a big improvement.

It's still *so* nice in Calgary - it doesn't feel like fall at all. Usually the weather turns right after labour day, and it starts to feel like fall. This year, it's still high 20's or low 30's.

It's been a long week at work - I was thankful to get some very mindless TV for Friday night. The video company I rent from sent the first disc from Laguna Beach. It was terribly mindless, but didn't require any actual thought, so it was perfect for a Friday night.

Yesterday I got my nails done, and bought some new dance clothes for dance class on Monday. The one studio I took classes from last year didn't really care what you wore to class, so I just wore leggings and a t-shirt most days. The studio was good, but there were so few students in the class that you could tell the instructors were a bit disappointed that there weren't more people there. They didn't offer the Saturday morning class I was in again, so I switched to a studio that's closer. I also like the second studio's philosophy better. For adult clases, I think dance is really about fitness and movement, and not so much about recitals and competition, so I'm glad that I found a studio that's more in line with that view.

Last night was dinner with friends - we try and eat out at different ethnic restaurants each month. When we were first out of university, it was a great way to try some different food, and to have a good meal with the paycheuqes we were just getting used to. Several years on, it's a great way to see old friends and to eat some delicious food. The group has been cancelled over the summer, largely because the organizer just had a new baby. The restaurant was picked to be quite near their house, and so they had us all over for dessert afterwards. It was also a chance to see their new baby, who's now two months old and an absolute delight!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

More new beads....

I had a few more beads kicking around that I forgot to photograph. These and a few of the others are up at Etsy. Other than that, it's been a lazy kinda day - I watched Moulin Rouge last night. I hadn't seen it before, and it was quite good. It was definitley a movie where suspension of disbelief was required. I love movies that have great detail in the costumes and in the sets, so I now have lots of great ideas running through my head. Oh - and I made my first ever froggie! He (or she) is super cute. Not perfect, but at least looks like a frog. More pics of him (or her) shortly.

I also love the fact that it's a long weekend, although this weekend signals the end of summer. It's nice to have an extra day tacked on though! I was very busy at work on Friday covering another employee's vacation, but at least I went into it knowing that I wouln't have to work for 3 days.

I think everything is *almost* booked for Morocco! I can't wait - a little over 3 months! I booked the tour yesterday and the flights today. I understand why tours prefer to leave from one city and then end in someplace else - it means you get to do more, and the tour company doesn't have to deal with the expense of getting you back to whereever you're going. But at the same time, it's a pain in the backside to book. At least airlines are letting you book one way tickets now - I remember the days when they weren't so flexible.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

New Beads

I got several bead back today from the class last weekend - they were in the kiln when I left, so I picked them up today. The first one is probably the biggest bead I've ever made - it's huge!! (My hands aren't big by any stretch of the imagination, so when you look at the comparison, keep that in mind).

I also finished up a few similar beads, plus a couple of focals while I was up at the studio. - I think they turned out well.

Oh - and I booked my trip to Morocco today!! I leave in November, and I'm *so* exited!