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: 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…

Onward

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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Mini putt and driving ranges were all the rage until Markus got better than Owen.
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Fishing remained popular all summer.
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Trev is now taller than me, a few more millimetres and he will be taler than Chris.
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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.
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Bubbling with friends.
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Brotherhood at its best and worst. Trev makes a lunch for Markus.
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Bike rides and treats are our specialty.
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All the sports are also our specialty.
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There is always something new to discover, like sand dunes in Ottawa!
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Even while enjoying the last long weekend of the summer, we are ready for the fall – check out the new hiking boots!

A few months of staying close to home

And somehow it is summer.

First things first, remember this lady?

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This is where I am thinking “One day I will home school my children”. NOT!!!

That was twenty years ago. I have been living like a grown up for two decades now.

We wrapped up home schooling. Apparently actual schools are going to open up in September.

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One room schoolhouse

Of all the things I thought I would do in my life, home schooling was not on the list. It turned out ok though. There was a lot of yelling, sure, but at the end of the day everyone handed in their assignments. Markus was working with nona which meant on a good day he would finish all work before she showed up so he could get out of doing the lesson. On a bad day they would argue for two hours about having to do twenty minutes of work. Ultimately, his reading improved so I guess it was all worth it.

Owen somehow managed to get behind and had two months of assignments to catch up on. I worked with him a lot on this and I am glad I did. It helped me understand what kind of things he finds hard to do and where he gets frustrated. I kept an eye on Trev as well, but once he got used to doing work from home, he was quite independent.

I also instituted physical ed class and got the boys to bike or take a long walk every day.

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After school team practice at Britannia

They got really good at it to the point they can go get ice-cream at Britannia beach by themselves.

We were not able to have friends over to the house, but some ducks came by for a few weeks.

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Houseguests

Since then we have been busy with home renos. The boys are somewhere between fighting and having the best time with each other. Trev made a list of things he wants to accomplish this summer and one of them is to get Markus to like him.

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Best frenemies

Trevor has been busy creating new things like train layouts and aquarium stands.

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Diarama

I was able to get back into randonneuring after a short break last year.

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Before the brevet