siglinde99: (Flemish Siglinde)
I went to work I late and left early. I started knitting a hat for my son (or my daughter, if she gives my son's hat back to him). I sewed a little linen bag to hold sausages and made a drawstring for it - I'm quite pleased with the pattern of the braid in thee drawstring. I hemmed my friend's dress. The crafting is balm for my soul.

So is the visiting. I had a three hour drive with [livejournal.com profile] pink_lady2, and then hours of chatting with friends at the house where I'm staying. Tomorrow we'll get up early and drive to another town to meet more friends, do more crafting, and talk about crafting and history. Then we'll drive home; hopefully without the thick fog that dogged us for much of today.

There aren't many better ways to spend a weekend.

pootling

Aug. 4th, 2015 08:07 pm
siglinde99: (Default)
Pootle is a word I learned from the FB group "Did You Swim Today". It means a gentle swim, puttering along the water. possibly with lots of stops along the way. That was this morning's swim. I met up with a friend I haven't seen in about a year and we had a mad gossip while swimming back and forth across the pond. By the time we were caught up on news and views, we had swum 1.5 km.

The girl wanted to nap instead of exercising her horse, so we pootled away the afternoon too.

I'm yawning as I wait for her to finish her ride, so I suspect that once we get home from the barn, I'll be putting out the trash and heading back to bed.
siglinde99: (Default)
My foot is hurting more than I think it should so I'm taking it relatively easy today. It's 2 pm and I'm still in my jammies. Mind you, I whipped off a quick article on the horse in medieval literature for my local historical group, so I haven't exactly been elevating my foot (really need to try using the laptop again).

I came across the review of a book written by a former work colleague, which was neat. I haven't thought of him since he retired, but now I know he has been busy researching social changes in Canada in the period immediately following WWI. That was rather neat. I may need to head to the main branch of the library, as they have a section devoted to local authors. It's always fun to see what has been written by people I know; that may sound rather snobby, but I live in a relatively small and tightly interconnected city, and I have been lucky enough to work with some very smart people who aren't shy about sharing their thoughts.

I should be working like mad on my knitting as I have a couple of super-secret projects on the go, but I have been knitting so much for the past week that it's nice to take a break.

My son just returned from doing his driver's test. He passed - finally! He was weeks away from having to start again at the beginning of the graduated program, having failed twice before. He's a good driver, but gets too cocky about his ability to do tests, so this time I made him do a lesson on how to prepare.

Now to go do something approaching productive. Or spend money on ballet tickets and the biology tutor. Whatever.
siglinde99: (Ballet)
Last Monday I headed to El Salvador for a few days. It was lovely except for a few hitches.
1) On the way to the airport, I tidied up my knapsack and managed to leave my phone charger in the taxi.
2) I made my connection in Chicago, but my luggage did not. Luckily I had some essential clothing and supplies in my knapsack, as I didn't see my suitcase again until late Wednesday night. My colleague was not so lucky, as he forgot his wallet somewhere in Chicago or on the plane. It still hasn't shown up as far as I know.
3) I had bought a replacement phone charger at the Ottawa airport, but left it behind at my hotel in Usulután on Tuesday.
4) I didn't lose anything on Wednesday or Thursday, but I did forget to pay Clara back after she accidentally covered the cost of our hotel rooms on Wednesday morning. I'll need to mail her a cheque tomorrow!
5) Having managed to get my phone recharged thanks to one of my friends at the Embassy, I misplaced the phone on Friday morning. I had it in my hotel room just before leaving. I opened my knapsack in the car to take a picture of bunnies on the side of the road when we stopped to investigate a leaking tire; the phone may have fallen out then. Tomorrow I'll be putting in some calls to see if the phone showed up in the car; if not, I'll be getting my friend at the Embassy to see whether it was turned in at the hotel. Hopefully she will be able to mail it back soon.
6) The flight from El Salvador was delayed by an hour when two people decided not to travel at the last minute and their bags had to be retrieved. As a result, I missed my connection in Toronto and lost another hour in travel time. We won't even discuss how much sleep I lost during the week, staying out too late and getting up too early every day.

In non-lost news, El Salvador has made huge progress since I was last there. There is an impressive road network, the quality of houses and cars has improved significantly. I didn't see a single person selling fruit or other goodies on the street. Tourism is way up, according to the locals. There is still poverty, but nothing like when I lived there, except in very remote regions like the ones I went to visit.

Skraeling Althing bunnies are everywhere! These fearless fellows were on the side of a four-lane highway.

El Salvador 2014 093

Francisco, Sara, me, Esly, Karla and Romeo - all former colleagues at the Embassy.
El Salvador 2014 090

Proud graduates of the baking, construction and literacy courses in Ilobasco, partly funded by Canada
El Salvador 2014 070

A few of the grads in the literacy program. These ladies studied reading, writing and practical human rights skills for a year. The lady in front just turned 75. The one directly behind her broke into a dance upon receiving her diploma.
El Salvador 2014 081

Processing coffee beans in rural Usulutan. This project was born following land reform that gave landless peasants small plots of land, many of them with ageing coffee trees. Now, thousands of farmers in 13 communities have improved varieties of younger trees (with more on the way), and a guaranteed market for their beans. The same project has fair trade shops in all the villages so that farmers have access to essential goods and a place to sell their produce. The shops are run by community youth, who now are willing to stay rather than taking their chances with illegal migration or a move to the big city.
El Salvador 2014 044

Traffic jam in San Francisco, Usulutan
El Salvador 2014 022

View from my hotel room, Usulutan
El Salvador 2014 027

siglinde99: (Default)
ShuLing and I worked the fall horse trials today. I got to scribe with a new judge, Anne Galt. I would love to take lessons from her, but it appears she just does freelance judging work.

It was a very bittersweet day. The weather was beautiful and the park never looked better, thanks to the volunteers who put in many hours building, painting and setting up the cross-country and stadium jumps. All the usual volunteers were there to run the show itself. I found out my friend Rowan is trying to buy two of the horses, and my former coach Jenn is also trying to buy two, and is hoping to be able to offer lessons from her place in Aylmer. There is lots of interest in my boy Fitzroy, so hopefully he will go someplace good.

The bitter parts were the sadness of people who have been riding there for 20 years, and have yet to find another stable that works for the moderately competent recreational rider of a certain age (I'm SOOO glad the City paid attention to the results of their survey last year on what people over 50 want in recreation). Getting details about some particularly difficult transfers of boarders was tough too - one 31 year-old guy who is blind in one eye and has been at the park forever took 3 hours to get trailered, and had to be blindfolded to get out of the trailer, into the new barn and into his stall. He wouldn't come out for days. It was not clear whether his bestest buddy in the world went to the same stable. Duchess, the newest barn cat, has a home (indoors, and with two dogs, but Shelley is hopeful she'll adjust eventually). Jacob has been promised a new home with one of the boarders, but he's still there and desperately lonely. He couldn't get enough pats today, and even ran into the cross-country warm-up ring. I didn't see Scooter (my favourite), and I couldn't find out what arrangements have been made for him. The lesson rings are desolate, ungroomed and higgledy-piggledy. We went to see the horses but could only find three of them. They can't go in the big field any more because the fence has been allowed to deteriorate to the point that it is dangerous. The horses could easily escape onto the road, or even the Queensway.

We managed not to be too teary, but people are heartbroken and bitter. Although there are promises that the park will continue to operate under new owners, we all know that people will eventually build allegiances at new barns, or give up riding altogether. This was probably the last event for the Friends of the Park.

The Friends of the Park were more than friends. We, and the animals, were family. Having our family torn apart with a pre-cooked deal and double standards regarding money-losing city operations is disgusting. The Park came very close to breaking even using registration fees (83% cost recovery), unlike the golf course, libraries, and indoor swimming pools. At least one person said they have been engaged and committed to the democratic process, but they are now so cynical they will never vote again. I'll be voting, and trying hard to make sure people remember this.
siglinde99: (Default)
Last night at the grocery store, there was a display of hydrangeas. They filled me with memories of Etaoin. During our university years or just after, before she got into the exciting world of sewage treatment, Etaoin dreamed of being a horticulturalist and worked in a greenhouse. One of her jobs in a greenhouse involved dealing with thousands of hydrangeas. She had to prune, repot or something she found incredibly boring. I think it was at about that time that she developed the horrible mould allergies that ended her horticulturalst ambitions. Her eyes swelled shut and she missed a lot of work because she was so sick. I remember meeting up with her after she got back to London from that job in Grimsby and she just kept repeating (ranting) about how much she hated hydrangeas, just hated fucking hydrangeas.

Since then, whenever I see hydrangeas, I think of her. When I lived in Brazil, I once had to go to a town with an airport so small there was one wooden bench in the waiting room, and the building was separated from the runway by a hedge of the biggest hydrangeas I have ever seen. I had a picture taken of myself by the hedge, just so I could share it with her. I knew it would make her laugh.

Etaion, I'm still hating hydrangeas on your behalf.
siglinde99: (Default)

Because I work on the Gatineau side of the river, I get St Jean Baptiste as a statutory holiday. I managed a delightfully productive day, and am looking forward to a relaxing evening.

To do today:
take box of books to book fair storage bin
print out quarterly exchequer reports
get float for event tomorrow, and deliver to Gina
meet Lenka for lunch at ribfest
take ShuLing to bank so she can activate her bank card

For bonus points:
take ShuLing to buy shorts
do laundry and wash floors (it appears Kaboone had a seizure in the night)
cook two different suppers, fill and run dishwasher
drive ShuLing to her dad's to pick up forgotten riding boots
buy watch strap
replace watch battery that died while the watch sat for months waiting for new strap
nap
finish knitting sweater
more laundry

It was a really good day. It was fun to just get around the city by car for a change, and take in a local tourist activity while catching up on the news.

Turns out my friend Lenka has finally decided to bite the bullet and take a year's leave from work to go join her husband. He's Peruvian and came to Canada to get a graduate law degree, which is when they got married (they had met while she was working in Peru a few years ago). He has gone back to work in Peru. Though he would easily have qualified to stay in Canada, he felt obligated to go back and work for his country for a while. Lenka has been looking for work down there, but hasn't had much luck. Now he is starting to do well enough financially that she is just going to go, and spend time working for local NGOs if nothing else comes up. She'll have fun, and they'll be lucky to have her.

While dropping off books, I ran into Geoff's old daycare teacher and we had a very nice chat. I was surprised to see that she is still there after 15 years - it's a tough career. She looks great though, and is still having fun.

In a complete non sequiter, my basement appears to be bone dry, despite all the rain today.

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