Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ginger beef for New Year's dinner

I made ginger beef for the second time. The recipe needs rewriting for clarity but I got it right this time. We ate every last piece, along with some new noodles I picked up. Bills are all paid (except for one which was delivered at 4:20 this afternoon), late Christmas present was delivered (a Lego set for William that he asked for a few months ago and I remembered last minute) and my blogging is up to date (blogged 408 times this year).
Happy New Year everyone!!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bigger is always better - home computer now over 6TB

The two internal drives I installed two years ago for storage of data, home videos, photos, documents, dvds, and other stuff (but not including some big projects stored on external drives) are finally full. This morning I had to shut down my computer without saving the huge stitched photo I created because I was too low on space. This afternoon I got another 2TB drive and installed. it. Unfortunately I couldn't find the drive, even though I was certain that I'd connected it correctly. It was available in the BIOS but not in "my computer" so I couldn't use it. Finally I found some online advice which indicated that you have to find a "manage" button by right clicking on the "computer" selection within the START menu window. The manage button has a shield beside it. WIthin there, you are allowed to format the drive and start accessing it. I'm now copying 800 GB of photos and videos shot with my point and shoot cameras over the past eight years onto it. I also replace the external speaker I bought for Margaret for Christmas as it didn't work (the person at the store confirmed it must be faulty) and the new one works. I also upgraded her computer to have bluetooth so she can use the speaker without it being wired in. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sleeping Beauty and Daniel Maslany at Globe Theatre

We went to the Globe Theatre along with George and the girls for "Sleeping Beauty". I liked it, it was more engaging than "Robin Hood" two years ago. Daniel Maslany, pictured here with William and his cousins, was difficult to recognize due to the make up. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hobbit part 2

Went with the kids to the second Hobbit movie today. I guess it was pretty exciting. It contained lots of that inconceivable action that Lord of the Rings had and much less of the boring landscapes and mind-numbing music that the first Hobbit movie had. I also respected the approach that no context was given to set up the film for those who have not seen the first movie. Coming into this one cold would be completely confusing. William finally got to see Teagan, who has been here for the past couple of days but had a very full social calender. William's cousins and Emma were also at the film but they had commitments afterwards so this will be the extent of big group events for them this holiday. At least these three (above) were able to spend the rest of the evening together and make a movie of their own. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Backyard party to burn in the new year

 Smoked a bit of a cigar that Margaret brought for me from Mexico last year. It was a bit dry but Erik joined me. Bob Bjerke declined but sat with us around the fire pit, drinking some brewed apple cider and a touch of rum. Margaret and William decorated the yard with snow people to make this a special, above seasonal average temperature sort of day. Thanks to everyone for dropping in and having a fun afternoon.
Erik Sirke experimenting with stereoscopic viewer

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Great Christmas Afterparty

While boxing day has become known for its crazy shopping deals, for us it has become the day to catch up on socializing with people who didn't get a chance to on the real holiday. It is more of a second party or an after party. Today Leslea, Leif, Brianna, Maureen, Rick, Nicole, Mike, Paul, George, Kiki, and Kristin came over to our house - not all at the same time but in waves. For supper we went to Richard and Gerda's for "leftovers" which were actually mostly freshly made. Good eating but I think I've had so much sugar that I'm crashing and doubt I can make it until 10 without a nap.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Many gifts and guests for Christmas

I got a banana in my stocking while William got a little orange. Some top gifts this morning were a t-shirt for me which was painted by William (I have it on now as I type this), a "hand"-full of catnip for Sylvie, a popcorn maker with a proper on/off switch for Margaret, and Pathfinder RPG rules books for William.

This evening, we ate at mom and dad's along with my sisters Lori and Maureen. Maureen and Rick came in from Calgary for a couple of days on the eve of retirement, bringing Nicole along. Nick made Lego shaped chocolates for William. Grandma gave William a really nice quilt she made.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve and Santa's Dr. Who delivery

 Christmas eve at Gertrud's was wonderful. William's cousins, Katherine and Kristin, were there and it was our first chance to see them since they arrived from Toronto the other day (hours late due to the ice storm). I think they really appreciated the photo album of the summer's adventures that I put together. People don't print photos as much anymore. Dinner was the traditional goose.
When we arrived home, the fireplace cover was once again moved and the rum and egg nog (with cinnamon stick to stir) and nanimo bar were consumed. William was surprised to find some Dalek blueprints, probably delivered by mistake as they certainly shouldn't have left the elf's workshop, inside of a tube alongside a "To Victory" poster for William's door.

Stereoscope Arrives!!!!

William and I were listening to the radio and working on a couple extra cards when the doorbell rang! A stranger at the door was holding a box with my name on it. I thanked him and asked if he needed a signature. "No", he said, since it had been delivered to him two blocks away by accident almost a month ago! It is my seemingly lost stereoscopic viewer I'd ordered off ebay and have been cursing customs about for the pat few weeks. It is perfectly intact and complete with the stack of cards as promised. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

If you have mailed us a card, then we WILL be writing back...

Margaret and William did a great job with cards this year, but the run is small and only covers the people who have sent us cards. With prices going up in the new year and delivery to homes stopping soon, I think the allure of envelopes and stamps will quickly end. I hope we do more next year. Here are some more examples of cards being sent out by us (and by US, I mean that I wrote in a couple of them and put some of the stamps on, but can take little of the real credit):

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gifts wrapped!

Saturday night, Margaret finished wrapping the gifts, at least all of the ones we have purchased so far. There are a couple of things coming from Amazon, but those should be easy. I only wrapped a couple of things, making "selecting the music" my priority of that evening. Sunday night, while I was out having fun with my friends, Margaret and William made about 20 hand-painted cards. These generally go to family and to those people who mail us a card. We used to do about 100 but in recent years we have just run out of time/energy to complete that task. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Broken Knob

On Thursday out back door knob broke. This was just the handle so we could still lock the door with the dead bolt. I filled the hole with insulation and Margaret bought a new handle. I installed it today and even thought the back porch was closed, it was almost unbearably cold to work with the door a foot open. It's a big improvement though; we'll probably do the front door soon.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Photos printed for albums

While most of my key photo events are posted in this blog, we still maintain a printed photo album. Good for occasional conversations where hovering around a computer screen is gouache. I printed over 600 images, some as doubles to give away, and today had to sort them to prepare to put them in the albums. The lab always scrambles them up a bit. William finished school today so I took a break from baking to lounge in front of the tv with him. I sorted photos during "Nightmare Before Christmas" which he never liked until today (they watched some of it in school and he discovered it isn't as horrible as he remembered). Made sure to study the credits carefully and find Chrystene's name (and I had a photo of her in my stacks). We also watched the surreal French film "City of Lost Children" which was incredible. We laughed hard and often. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Risa Horowitz and the camera lucida

Risa Horowitz came over yesterday for a cookie and a try a the camera lucida or "neolucida". It takes a while for you to train your eye to see the image correctly, but once you do it becomes a cool and mystifying tool. She drew me (sideways in red with a bit of the counter from another drawing impacting with my head). She shares my inability to really draw but attraction to tracing and cheating in other ways. Yay for shortcuts!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Combat Improv "Instagram Moment"

It was my first Wednesday since summer that I've been able to attend the Combat Imrov at the Artesian. William and I went. Saw Erik and Coltan. The improv was a good session, well above average. We didn't get there as early so didn't get the seats we usually take. William survived. This was the final pose to a special Christmas section. At this point, Colby called it a "instagram moment" and they seem to have miraculously held long enough for me to grab a snap. Sorry I didn't actually instagram it. 


We dropped off a half dozen pieces of art for framing today, including the Joe Fafard card, the Jack Cowin bird, and a gnome by Dakota McFadzean. None of this will be ready until mid-January so the snowmen (all which remain unclaimed) will stay in place until then. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lunch with Filmpool

I had a very nice lunch with Filmpool staff Gordon Pepper, Berny Hi, and Kristine Dowler at The Creek Bistro today. I've found that the only time I see them is either at Filmpool meetings (which are exhausting in their own right so leave little extra time for chatting) or when I stop in to the office for some reason, but more and more often, those stops are limited by an impending meter or some other time deadline. It was great to just chat for a couple of hours about whatever we were thinking about. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Tree

 William and Gertrud went out to multiple stores (taking two hours) to finally arrive with this wonderful tree. Decorating will begin tomorrow but I cut the bottom so that it will be able to drink water well, and we got it into the stand and secured it. The cat couldn't wait to get at the water supply. She loves the pine fresh drinking available in this season.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

John and Debra's house party and William performing

William and I ran around to eight or nine stores today, some errands and some shopping, in preparation for Christmas. I got his computer working better. I pulled it out to see if I could improve his video card, only to discover that he didn't have a video card, that his video was simply running off of his motherboard. This was quite surprising as I had rebuilt his computer a couple of  years ago and had a card that he could use. I suspect that I had problems with my computer and got distracted from his updates and eventually forgot. This evening we walked over toe John ad Deb's house for their Christmas party. Nice time. William did a cool spoken word thing at the end.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cat goes back to nature?

Poor Sylvie, she really misses the outdoors but the -30 weather has her confined to a single square foot of house plant. Luckily it hasn't occurred to her to use the plant as an extra cat box (incentive for us to ensure the real cat box is always clean). . 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas at William's school

All day reviewing grad students. I don't have my grades in  yet, but mainly because of distractions. I made nanimo bars last night and dropped some off with my sister before she leaves town. She took William off shopping for Sims City today and was very generous with him (although he wisely turned down a trip to MacDonald's afterwards). This evening there were Christmas events at William's school: crafts and films and snacks and so on.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sharon visits

My sister Sharon is in town for a couple of days to visit. We were talking about "selfies" and how she took her first one ever with her granddaughter recently. I was saying I've been taking them since long before they had a name, back when you needed a strong wrist and long arm to hold your SLR far enough away to be in focus and also be able to push the trigger with a spare finger. After processing, you could post it .... with a tack on your bulletin board. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rearranging the art, looking for snowman homes

While the snowmen are some of my favorites and the images are certainly seasonal, it looks like we'll be taking them down to put up new work we'll be framing in the next few days. If anyone (locally) is interested in acquiring one of Margaret's snowman photos, make an offer. We'd gladly make trades.

I don't know why it is snowing. I didn't do this on purpose.