Film: Manchester by the Sea

My spring project involved taking the kids on bike rides.

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Our most frequented location is, of course, the Britannia Beach
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Trev expressed interest in seeing more of downtown so here we are at Lebreton Flats
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And Dow’s Lake
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We checked out Bell’s Corners to take a look at the school Owen will be going to next year
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Hog’s Back
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On a day that was no good for riding we took a walk around Mud Lake
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Ride to Almonte was my favourite of the year so far
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We did an “University Tour” by biking through Carleton and Ottawa U campuses one day
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Trevor expressed interest in seeing the Golden Triangle but then only decided to look at a single block of it (hence the picture of him on the way there only)
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As a promise of more ambitious rides in the future we biked to the starting parking lot in the Gatineau Park
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We are keeping it simple during the hot months and just going for coffee and sandwiches for now

Living room

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Gallery wall

This took a while, but our living room is now, exactly like Ontario, open for business. We had put a lot of thought into what stays and goes. We loved our wall of books, still do, but our home is chaotic and the bookshelves would become overwhelmingly messy in no time. We moved the books to the games room in the basement. Maybe one day when life is slower the shelves can come up again.

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Safely messy in the basement

But you love books! Yes we do. We always have several on the go. They are on the stereo shelf now.

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Stereo book shelf

The rule is, once the tissues and/or phone fall off the ends, it is time to rearrange the books.

The living room is now a calm place to knit or read, listen to the radio, have the morning coffee and do pilates and yoga. Owen has taken over the arm chair for the online school.

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Owen in class and Trev at breakfast

One day, we are looking forward to having friends over!

Film: 40 year old version

Ski season this year was short but sweet. In January and February we spent a lot of time on the golf course and on the Wesley Clover trails. As soon as we were able to go to Gatineau, we headed there.

Our first trip had a few exciting stops. We started from P7 and got the first very climby kilometre out of the way. Starting the trip with a steep climb did not make me the favourite mom at that moment, but as soon as we got to the first lookout, the mood changed.

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Lookout over P7

Following a hilarious bit where Owen fell off the groomed trail into deep fluffy snow and then I fell in too trying to get him out, we made it to our picturesque lunch spot by the Shilly Shally cabin.

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Shilly Shally

Followed by cookies and bird watching at Huron

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Huron shelter

The day was beautiful and in the spirit of exploring new places, we made it to the Champlain lookout. Yes, yes, not a new place for me but the boys have never been.

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Sharp shadows at Champlain lookout

I had completely forgotten where the faux ruins were when the boys saw them by the trail and had to take a closer look.

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Brutalist folly

The next two outings were a bit more challenging. We picked a Pink lake loop from Asticou, up the Parkway well past Pink Lake and then back down the Pink Lake trail through the forest.

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SnOwen

A day when snowman is easy to make is not usually a good day for skiing. On the way up the Parkway I had the worst clumps on my skis. I had to get out of the tracks because it felt like I was walking on stilts and I was making huge holes in the trail. The conditions improved after our snowman making stop at the Pink Lake lookout. On the way through the forest path Owen slipped and fell on the first serious downhill. He did not get injured but he was banged up and uncomfortable making his ski skills regress to last year’s level. He managed to rescue the day by “slipping” off the trail and into deep fluffy snow about 50 meters from the parking lot. Hilarity ensued.

The last big trip was the most challenging. I will not go back to McKinstry for at least another year or two. It is serious climbing and the day was chillier than I expected.

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Picknick at McKinstry shelter

The saving grace of the trip was that one of the boys is stronger on the uphill and the other on the downhill. As I hang back with the kid that is behind, I got a lot of one on one time with each.

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Hot chocolate break
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On the way up the hill

The winter was mild and ended much sooner than I was ready. We attempted one more ski with the whole family but it was a comedy of errors (I did not pack my poles, we missed the parking lot and ended up on a different trail, the trail we went to was not groomed due to this year’s different parking configuration, the trail we ended up on was icy and full of debris…). We called it a season after a few kilometres.

We had a little awards ceremony to recognize the fun we’ve had on skis this year. Trevor took away the “Best overall time” and Owen earned the “Most Valuable Player”.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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