Monthly Archives: May 2010

An Evening of Traditions

For years and years now, my parents and I have attended the Quilt Auction Preview on the Friday evening of the MCC Relief Sale weekend in New Hamburg. I love this annual outing!!! (It’s always held the last weekend of May). Some years we’ve frozen on a chilly cold evening; last year it rained so hard, we could not even access the outdoor tents – the ground was a mud bowl! This year we lucked out with a sunny, warm evening – really made wandering about a pleasure.

Our annual outing follows a typical pattern. The following photos will help explain our traditions!

Tradition #1: Dad’s parking spot.

Erv has this “thing” about finding a primo parking spot. It really matters not if he can park in an actual spot; every year he somehow finds space in which to position his vehicle. We’ve parked in gullies, alongside tractor trailers, up against light posts, in mud holes…somehow Erv always succeeds in getting his way with parking within 25 metres of the entrance (no trek in from the back 40 for Daddy-o!).

Here’s what happened this year:

a proud Erv - and a relatively tame year! We're only up against that pile of orange barriers!

Tradition #2 – Meat n Pie

Usually mom and I head straight for the quilts and Dad goes off in search of his supper. This year, we arrived earlier than usual and decided to keep Dad company. Dad always gets some form of meat and a slice of pie – nothing rivals my mom’s pies…except homemade Mennonite pies with handchurned ice cream on the side! Now Erv deviated a little this year and chose to start with…

sausage on a bun with sauerkraut!

…followed very closely by…

handcut french fries!

Now THAT’S the way to enjoy french fries!

Erv then declared he was too full for pie (do ya think?!) so we made our way indoors to the quilt preview…

Tradition #3: Mom Buys Apple Butter and Jams

On the way to the quilts, we always stop so that mom can pick up her apple butter and her obscure jars of jam. These will last her until next year’s sale. Mom does do a lot of home preserving of a vast assortment of jams, but enjoys picking up a jar or two of pickled beets or elderberry/cherry marmalade, apricot chutney… (you get the idea!).

authentic Mennonite preserves!

Unfortunately my camera died on me this year after taking the shots of Erv and his food picks, so I had to use my blackberry camera for the rest of the eve. The “buying of the apple butter shot” was too blurry to post – sorry!

Tradition #4: The Viewing of the Quilts

the backdrop to the auction area which will be in full swing Saturday morning

I’ve never actually attended the Quilt Auction itself – by all accounts, you have to arrive super early and it’s absolutely packed with people. We love the Friday evening opportunity to see the beautiful donations, and get to avoid the crowds. It’s still busy Friday eve, but nothing like Saturday would be.

This year, the quality of the quilts was simply OUTSTANDING. The quilts are always gorgeous, but this year, it seemed like the designs, quilting, creativity, and colours were just exceptional. I have no desire to learn to quilt, but I do appreciate the time and effort and skill needed to complete a masterpiece. Here’s a quick sampling of what we ooh’ed and aah’ed over:

flowers figure prominently

i'm partial to geometric designs and patchwork fabric choices

this quilt was outstanding for the intricacy of the stitching

Sorry for not showing my absolute favourite photos, but you weave back and forth down and up aisles that are about 8 inches wide, and I just could not get a good shot of some of the most draw-droppingly fantastic quilts. Plus, there is a protective barrier of light plastic over the quilts to protect them which isn’t the best for picture-taking. Despite the frequent placement of these signs…

this means you!

…some people still paw and poke over the quilts! – a huge Pet Peeve! Hello – can you not read, people!?!

Another tradition: mom and i always “hit the wall” at exactly the same time. All of a sudden, we cannot absorb any more beauty and have seen enough. Then it’s time to go round up Dad…

Tradition #5: Catching Up

We look forward to meeting mom’s cousin Bob and his wife Joan every year, as we did again this year. Usually we then encounter 2-3 other acquaintances/distant family members. This year was record setting! I think we bumped into at least 6 sets of people with whom we stopped and chatted. Always fun to do the annual meet and greet. I have no photos – just didn’t feel comfortable snapping a blackberry photo of folks I only meet once per year!

And then it’s back home again! New Hamburg to Waterloo is a lovely country-road drive, a very enjoyable way to conclude a super fun May evening.

Friday Photos….Are Coming!

Good evening!

Yes, it’s Friday! Happy last weekend of May to you!

I just got back from where I took my Friday photos…too late to blog ’em now, but I will get them at some point this weekend! Fear not! 🙂

So in the meantime…

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

a photo of mom from tonight!...and a hint of where tonight's photos were taken!...

❤ (it took me forever to figure out this was a kissie lips - can you see it?!)

Yup, Saturday May 29th is Mumsy’s Birthday. I won’t post her age – haha! (I think that pretty much would be bad bloggie etiquette!) but I will wish her  a fabulous day!

Ok – later!

Friday Photos: Happy Birthday, B!

I’ve always thought that B has the perfect birthday date – May 21st. Usually this date is on (or very near) the weekend of the May 2-4 long weekend, so we can meld birthday celebrations with the extra holiday day. Plus, the weather is so nice this time of year (better than say, January…take it from one who knows), the evenings are long, everyone is in a good mood as we kick off summer…I covet B’s birthday!

Brad, in typical B (lowkey) fashion, does not want a lot of hoopla this weekend. So today was a more or less normal Friday but we did celebrate tonight with B’s parents. Mom and Dad K made the trek down here from the Collingwood area so that we could all go out to the Huether tonight as a birthday eve outing.

Mom and Dad K brought a really cute card for B:

the card just kept getting bigger and bigger! good choice!

Meet Mom and Dad K!…

Mom and Dad K are fantastic conversationalists - never a shortage of chitchat when we're together

…and a photo of Birthday B and Wife-y at the Huether…

40 x 2!

…and a shot of the four of us…

love the relaxed and casual atmosphere of the huether - great spot in our 'hood!

Mom and Dad K used to live in Waterloo so they are familiar with the area, but they were pretty amazed at all the changes that have taken place and all the construction that is currently happening. We had a nice meander to the Huether as we introduced them to the “new” Uptown Waterloo – no more Kmart or Bingo Palace on King Street!

Earlier, B enjoyed a rooftop BBQ Lunch with a couple of neighbour buddies and a gym workout with his workout buddy and moi…and now we have three more days for B to milk this birthday of weekend + Vic Day holiday to continue the fun. Tomorrow eve (Saturday) is a DVD rental of B’s choice – like, I have no say whatsoever. I already know what movie he is going to pick … let’s just say I think it’s going to be an *interesting* movie review for the “40 Movies” chronicle!

Happy 40th B!

They refuse to come out of the pan!!!

See Recipe #17 under “40 Recipes” to see what I am referring to!…


Friday Photos: An Intimate Literary Affair

Wednesday evening this past week saw mom and me off to attend a book reading. Our uptown bookseller, Words Worth Books, regularly hosts series of author events. As part of their spring series, “Words Worth Hearing,” Sarah Hampson and Judy Fong Bates were on the menu for Wednesday evening. As you know, the Toronto Globe and Mail is my favourite newspaper, bar none. Sarah Hampson is a Life section columnist – I read her columns without fail, whenever she’s in the paper. Judy Fong Bates is a novelist – a few years ago, I read her book “Midnight at the Dragon Cafe,” and found it to be a wonderful read.

So! When I saw that both of these women were on the agenda for Wednesday evening, I immediately asked mom if she would accompany me. Being a huge reader herself, mom readily agreed to accompany me.

I had assumed that the author event would take place at the Princess Twin Cinema, based on the information on our tickets. So both of us were a little surprised to find our venue was actually next door, at the Princess Cafe. Previous Words Worth-sponsored readings that we have attended have been quite large gatherings – several hundred people at times. Well, we were the first to arrive Wednesday evening, and in total there were probably about 30 people! That ended working in our favour, as I had the opportunity to approach both Sarah Hampson and Judy Fong Bates and request a photo:

Globe readers: do you recognize Sarah from her newspaper column photo?

Judy Fong Bates: a tiny dynamo with a flair for the dramatic!

Judy presented first and talked about her new memoir, “The Year of Finding Memory“. I appreciated her comments on the Asian experience: she was the only non-white child growing up in her small hometown. Judy provided a window into some of her feelings and thoughts as she grew up with this identity.

We had seats no further than 2 metres from the microphone!

Sarah also has written a memoir: Happily Ever After Marriage. Frankly, in her post-divorce themed columns in the Globe, I have often found Sarah’s voice to be brittle, a tad strident, with a bitter edge. She could not be more different in person! I was so impressed with her humour, warmth and also by the honesty with which she spoke of life after divorce. (Her off-on-a-tangent tale of interviewing Leonard Cohen was a highlight, too!). I will be reading her future columns with a new eye.

The Cafe provided a very "art house" atmosphere to the book readings

Both writers graciously responded in the short Q & A session which followed their brief presentations. All too quickly, our literary event was over! Now to get my hands on their books!…

Happy Mother’s Day

I can’t be the only bloggie-ite in blogland NOT doing some sort of Mother’s Day tribute today…so here are a few photos, hot off the press of Maman et moi:

On a scale of 1-10, what do you rate our resemblance at? We often are told how much we look alike!

My mom made me this green sweater when I was a teenager - still think of mom every time i wear it!

I love you, Mom! Happy Mother's Day! 🙂

We can be silly together - both of us love a good laugh!

I feel so lucky that Mom is one of my best friends!

And to End…A few of my favourite picks for Mom-related bits of trivia:

Favourite TV Mom of All Time: Claire Huxtable 

Favourite Novel Featuring Motherhood: “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Favourite Celebrity Canadian Mother: (tie) Marilyn Dennis, Jeannie Beker

Least Favourite Celebrity Mother: Angelina Jolie

Favourite Musical: Mama Mia

Favourite Childhood Restaurant: Mother’s Pizza (was on Weber St in Kitchener)

So, a Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends ‘n family who are moms! Moms simply do such an amazing job. Hope you each enjoyed a special day!

Friday Photos: Pet Peeve

So what are your pet peeves? (seriously, please share if you feel like it!).

I would have to list the following:

Procrastination: I am a “once n done” type person. Ie: rather than throw your clothes onto the floor after you wear them, (hrmmm hrmmm, not mentioning any names, dear husband o’ mine…) toss them into the hamper, and they’re all ready for the next time i do laundry. Clothes are finished in the dryer? Let’s fold them now and then that job is done, i can check it off my to do list (note: AM a big fan of To Do Lists! make one daily). Not a fan of the dishwasher: why wait for the machine to wash and dry the dishes when i can hand wash and be done in 5 minutes? You get the picture…

Events That Do Not Start On Time: church. concerts. movies. chiropractor appts. running races.

Drivers on the 401 Who Drive Slowly in the Fast/Passing Lane: move over already if you’re doing anything less than 120 km/hr.

**Knitting Patterns That Contain Errors** – this is my topic of the day. Nothing annoys me more than happily knitting away, sailing along, and BOOM Ka-Pow!!! suddenly my knitting row has too few or too many stitches. For a beginner knitter, this is akin to suddenly having to converse with someone in Swahili. Luckily, I have been knitting for 35 years now so i can more or less figure out what the pattern author is trying to say, or make up my own variation that will work.

Other knitting pattern error options: omittance of important information (ex: cut yarn, return to work with right side facing); vague and oblique knitting short forms with no glossary of terms (i’ll never forget my first view of psso when i was 12, and not having a clue, literally had to go visit my knitting-capable next door neighbour!); blatant wrong instructions (pattern states K4 when clearly you need to K5 or you will be up a creek without a paddle). Sigh. We’re not designing rockets here, people. A published pattern creator should have a competent editor and a team of testers who have gone step-by-stitch completely through the pattern. 

A good pattern should be written at a Grade 1 level of knitting parlance. You can err on the side of not saying enough; you cannot err in including too much information. Also, the pattern should state the obvious (ex: when you are done this section of decrease, you will have 24 stitches on your right hand needle). I could go on, but I’m likely losing you already, you poor non-knitters dear readers.

Here is what I am currently knitting:

close-up view of the right front

far-out view of the entire piece

It’s a lacy baby jacket that in my mind i am calling the “bohemian shepherd coat” – you’ll notice that due to the colours of this ball of to-die-for yarn, the RIGHT front is going to be different from the LEFT front which will be different from EACH SLEEVE.

I love how it’s turning out, but seriously, I have lost count of how much ripping back and adjusting I have done so far. The pattern is from a book in my knitting library collection:

the "knitting area" of the Zen Room

I’ve tried to make note of my changes:

note the turquoise blue scribbles

The sweater is going to be super-cute once it’s done, i do believe (i still have to do the sleeves, a yoke, the collar band, the button and buttonhold borders)…but it’s been a real head-scratcher at times! Ah, the joys of knitting…a peaceful hobby in essence; not always so in practice!

A New Look!

How do you like this layout? The old green-themed Kiki Blog Look had grown tiresome and appeared, to me,  a little heavvvvy for May. So we’ll try this one. I like the way you can easily access each page of THE PROJECT, too, for our four categories of challenges (well, I guess THREE now since “40 Cereals” is finito…although I did try another new one just this morning: B had too much Quaker Harvest Crunch left over from prepping for his July trip – yes, he is seriously totally ready to go, 2+ months early! Makes me think I better get cracking on Flor-EE-da…ok, too many tangents going on here. Back to cereal – that Quaker stuff is phenomenal, if you need a hearty, filling MEAL of cereal).

Back to the Florida topic and what I have planned so far: plane tickets are booked, and I have a tentative itinerary planned out. Sticking to the west coast only. Now I’m researching: shopping, beaches, hotels, gyms. I can assure you I will NOT be visiting any museums, historical interest locations, or family-themed/kiddie-friendly hot spots. Am finding that trip research is a real time eater – almost as much as blogging! 🙂