Film: Another Round

Way back when I made Trev this fish hat. Actually I miscounted when orienting the tail and it turned out to be a mammal.

IMG_5944
2011 fish hat

He wore it for a while until the button eyes damaged the fabric and I decided not to repair it.

Last winter we saw a kid wearing a similar hat and Owen asked for his own version.

20200430_141930
Owen’s fish hat modelled by Markus

Instead using buttons I made crochet eyeballs so they can be sewn on at their edges and put less wear on the hat fabric. I didn’t put a lot of thought into the designs though I did put a row of fish hooks because I thought it would be a funny tattoo for a fish to have.

Trevor was in line next and at this point I was really keen to put an eye catching pattern.

20200609_153313
Muddy swirls

I bought a pattern dictionary (which is a coffee table book with bunch of knitting drawings) and got these swirls out of it. I was super pleased with the look but the pattern made it difficult to shape the hat causing me to redo the original fish body shape into one with back and belly.

Though this turned out well, I was not brave enough to attempt it again and when Markus asked for his hat, I went back to stripe scheme.

20200911_122504
Fish in water

Markus wanted red and green – his favourite colours. I don’t remember why he insisted on raindrops but I suppose water is the kind of thing that would stick to a fish. Getting those colours to not look like Christmas was the key feat of this hat.

20201209_080538
Fish on fish

Final hat in the series was for my sister. I redid this one several times trying to get the right drawing. At one point I even had a row of octopuses that looked like chaotic squiggles and almost invisible fish.

O, zar je uzvodno do kraja?

Covid has stolen so much, Djordje Balasevic being one of the latest acquisitions. His music was the soundtrack to my childhood and I am so happy I was able to see him play live in Zagreb in the eighties and then again in the naughties. Even today, towards the closing hours of a good bike ride, his songs settle into my mind and I know it has been a good day. You will not thank me for it, but I will translate “Remorker”, that private Randoneuring anthem. Better look it up on YouTube though!

”Tugboat” impertinently translated by Yours Truly

The snows arrive.
It is no good, more and more Novembers bother me.
Gently clip me to your hair like a seashell pin,
that’s what I need –
my little shelter under the sky.

Unhook the barges,
aim for the morning and
let that ship slide.
Americans cracked the code for this:
“Take it easy” pretty doll!
A ripe peach splits by the sky.

Dim the lights, ease on the gas,
funny things we fear.
Think someone is looking for us?
Like we don’t exist.

Shift your thoughts to idle,
shake the stars like plums.
And slowly ground the ship
onto those plush banks.

And dream…

Migratory birds in flight.
Small sails flutter on open sky.
That departure of geese always makes me older
– the journey to heaven.
Oh, is it upstream all the way?

And dream…

Film: I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight

It is time to write out the recipe for another cake! This is not actually my cake, it came from some Swedish cultural society website years ago. Which? I don’t know, the recipe was printed out and verbally translated and adapted for me by my friend Anna. I copied it down in my notebook but it is getting rather ragged so it is high time to digitize it. My apologies for plagiarism, my only defence is that with so many other recipes on the web, the three people that visit are probably not here for the taste of Sweden.

Swedish Strawberry Cake

Sponge cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2oo ml sugar
  • 100 ml wheat flour
  • 75 ml potato flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Fillings and decorations:

  • ripe banana mushed with spoonful of sugar
  • frozen strawberries mushed with several spoons of jam
  • whipping cream (beat cream with a few spoonfuls of sugar)
  • fresh strawberries for top off the cake

Grease and sprinkle breadcrumbs in a 26cm diameter form pan. Beat eggs and sugar well. Sift two flours and baking powder together than blend into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake in the lower part of the oven at 350F for less than 40 minutes. Let the cake cool down then slice into three layers. Banana mixture goes between bottom two layers. On top of the second layer spread strawberries with jam than some whipped cream over it. Put the top layer on then ice the whole cake with whipping cream. Place strawberries on top of the cake like they are little gnomes (this is very important).

IMG_5950
Archive photo – don’t cut the strawberries, I just got a little deconstructive there

Film: The White Tiger

IMG-20210117-WA0004
Kinzel Pond

With Bytowne Theatre closing I am going to make an effort to watch new releases that I might have gone to see at the cinema. Art home instead of art house.

Speaking of staying (close to) home, January was all about exploring nearby places. Have you been to Kinzel Pond? It is beautiful! I have been mountain biking on the paths. I keep getting lost but I hope to learn all the turns by the summer.

20210103_095723
Extra room to fight!

The golf course has been the place to be this winter though. People have made skating mazes on the ponds, climbing structures out of snow and ski jumps in the sand pits. There are a lot of skiers so set tracks are a given. I sometimes wish for machine groomed trail, but that would be just too much!

20210131_111634
Cold, clear, sun filled day

Often, as I ski, I think how much the golf course these days reminds me of Maksimir, the large urban park in my old Zagreb neighbourhood. It is not really anything but it is not nothing either. Some sort of green mirage in the middle of a busy town. The picture above reminds me so much of this one.

Onward

DSCF0481
2020

This was a difficult year in so many ways but I think it is important to remember good things that came out of it. The life slowed down and we were able to spend a lot (a lot!) of time with the family.  Chris did away with the brutal commute and while I will be happy to go back to the office daily, I would be lying if I did not admit to enjoying the charms of working from home.

IMG_9989
Homework club

When I first heard of the social distancing concept I was shocked, but, in the end, I was probably just as social as I am any year. We moved our knit night online and I don’t think we missed a single week since March which wasn’t the case when we had to make sure the kids are taken care of before we went off to whomever was available to host at that moment. 

IMG_9992
Trev took up photography

Once we figured out how to do socially distant walks, bike rides and backyard visits, things were so much easier. For a nature loving introvert this was no problem. When I remember how lonely I was when we first moved to Canada and letters took days, or even weeks, to reach friends I can’t even being to complain. I did spend a lot more time biking on my own but I used the opportunity to explore new routes and set little challenges. I put on about 3000km on the single speed bike. 

20201012_144152
New kitchen

The complete kitchen reno took a lot of our attention this summer. I am still painting and renovating the other half of the ground floor, file that under continuous improvement. I even did some gardening and moving things around in the back yard. 

IMG_0148
IMG_9964

The ultra domestic bend of the season was perfect for knitting. I completed fifteen different projects this year. In the spirit of doing things “from scratch”, we cut a Christmas tree that grew wild on our front steps. I am so pleased with this tree that I regret not planting an evergreen every year we lived here for future Christmases. 

20201205_144427

I wish you all much happiness in 2021!

Summer 2020

A summer without BBQs, pool parties and campfire singalongs? Somehow we have made it. Lots of time with the boys and lots of outdoors.

IMG_1200
Mini putt and driving ranges were all the rage until Markus got better than Owen.
IMG_1234
Fishing remained popular all summer.
IMG-20200731-WA0001
Trev is now taller than me, a few more millimetres and he will be taler than Chris.
20200723_124950
We went on an epic backcountry trip. Rip in canoe, more portages than you can shake a frog at, deer flies, hornets, leeches but also beautiful lakes, starry skies, happy children and great company.
IMG-20200731-WA0006
Bubbling with friends.
20200824_124124
Brotherhood at its best and worst. Trev makes a lunch for Markus.
20200824_124124
Bike rides and treats are our specialty.
IMG_1339
All the sports are also our specialty.
IMG_1302
There is always something new to discover, like sand dunes in Ottawa!
20200824_124124
Even while enjoying the last long weekend of the summer, we are ready for the fall – check out the new hiking boots!