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

Film: The White Tiger

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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.

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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!

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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.

Film: The Marriage Story

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Taylor Lake

Apart from getting out to Gatineau Park to ski, I have been able to catch a few concerts/shows at the NAC.

Last year I noticed the ads for a ballet I liked when I was Trevor’s age when it was too late to go and see it. I decided to be more proactive this year and buy tickets in advance. The choice this year was between Nutcracker and Wizard of Oz. While Nutcracker is a classic, I was intrigued by the Wizard being a co-production of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet – the company that we were going to see. Markus was the only kid that showed interest so off to see the Wizard we went. The show was great, we had a blast and Markus even braved a horde of little girls to meet the dancers at the end of the performance.

Nona and I went to see Joshua Bell Performs Mendelssohn with the NAC orchestra. What I love about these concerts is the combination of classics and well known performers and new contemporary compositions.

Last week Chris and I went to a concert in the NAC Casual Friday series. This one featured American composers and a World premiere of a cello concerto written for the principal cellist of the NAC orchestra. It was tonnes of fun, especially since the enthusiasm of the principal cellist and the composer, who sat for a Q&A afterwards, was contagious.

I am really enjoying these little concerts, hope to see more of them.