Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Winter Wonderland

View over the Yukon River on our Boxing Day Walk with Isla.

Thank Goodness!  Isla finally got her lazy monkees moving!

Hoar Frost at -30 Celsius along the River

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Christmas and Peace on Earth

Living up north, it was still dawn twilight when we got up at the ripe hour of 10 am. The streetlights were still on and the glow of the Christmas lights was just magical.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Depressed Dog No More

Isla recently had surgery to remove what looked like a small lump. The massive scar was a bit of a surprise to us, as was the prescription of no exercise for 20 days! She's back to as much exercise as she wants and very happy about that.

Where's the Butter?!?!!

Tonight was the Christmas shop - for fruit, vegetables and other holiday essentials. Apparently everyone else had the same idea, only sooner. All the butter, every stick, every kind - salted, unsalted, cultured, organic - was gone. All that was left was margarine. Christmas without butter?! No, luckily, the local Super A had butter. Not a lot, but enough for me!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Whitehorse Urban Fox

In the last couple years the fox have moved into our suburban neighbourhood in a big way. There is someone at the old folks home around the corner who feeds them, so they've become as bold as brass. This morning, one popped up on our back deck, checked me out drinking coffee in my house dress and wandered off again. Then I opened the curtains out front and there's a fox on our neighbour's lawn and another hanging out in our drive. I wasn't fast enough to get a good photo, but I did get some evidence.The dog was totally useless, didn't even notice the fox.

Contrast this with the London urban fox which we encountered only late at night in Burgess Park - a large green space. This whole fox stare down is really strange.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas on Main Street

Today Christopher and I put up the holiday lights - I love to see them when I leave for work in the dark and come back in the dark. It reminds me that the dark is good for some things - like fireworks and fairy lights. To complete the day I wandered downtown to see the municipal tree lighting. They were early damn them, so I didn't get to see the before and after, but the tree looks great this year. Last year it was skinny, with an unfortunately large protuberance at the top/end - the phrase 'pecker pole' came to mind. This year it looks like the sort of christmas tree Hollywood's central casting would send.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thursday morning walk

This morning Christopher and I walked to my work. Not to seem holier than thou, it is nice to walk to work and feel awake and aired out.  Anyway, when we got to the end of Main Street we saw this;

And yes... it is dark here until 10AM.  Sarah gets up before the sun!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Iconic Scandinavian Design - Ikea et al

Last night I finished what a good friend started, and we are now sleeping on a bed frame for the first time in 12 years! We finally decided that enough was enough and bought an Ikea flat pack bed frame and headboard and our bedroom looks 'finished'.

While I was putting together the drawers (my good friend spent 3 hours constructing the vast bulk of the frame) I thought about the week we spent in Sweden and how much I enjoyed looking at the decorative arts of the lived in spaces. From tea towls, to chairs, to bicycles, they all had a cultural stamp that made me perk up. I wish I'd spent more time at Lund's Kulturen museum investigating the nooks and crannies. What makes Scandinavian design iconic? Bold, saturated colours, graphic florals, birds, white and blonde wood, wool!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wool and Woodcutter

I am gradually unpacking all the parcels, packages and boxes that we mailed to ourselves or packed away before we left. I'm just now getting into the English wool that I bought during our trip to the Weald Wool Fair. This is a sheltand/icelandic sheep's fleece. It is a wonderful chocolate brown with bleached blonde tips. It's gone into the wash to see how it turns out. 

Every self respecting woodsman needs a wool coat. Christopher is modelling one that I got more than 15 years ago in Prince George. The good stuff just keeps going. He's also got wool pants on and boots made from wool shearling (sheeps' skin with the wool left on). And a wool toque of course! The dog has her high visibility vest on so we can see her in the grey winter light.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thank-you Fellow Canadians

We are so pleased that our new government is taking action to bring Syrian refugees to Canada. Overseas voting was impossible in the federal election, so I have my fellow Canadians to thank for choosing a government that is doing something that I had hoped for. I remember when I was a child the work that our tiny local town of Musquodoboit Harbour did to prepare a home for a family of Vietnamese 'boat people'. Our little town of Whitehorse has a similarly wonderful community of people who are pulling together to bring a Syrian family here.

Living in Italy for 5 months was a real eye opener to how valuable our multi-cultural Canada is - we can get so many kinds cuisine! Even in Whitehorse. In Italy, all  you can get is Italian food. So, I for one say; "yay for Syrian refugees!" I can't wait to try some Syrian food....

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Woolish Obsessions

Long time readers will know that I am a little obsessed with sheep's wool, and that I like to spin. I tried very hard during our journey to acquire wool as my memento of our 7 month sojourn. The only place I succeed in doing this was England. They speak my language! Now that we are back home, I'm diving into my stash and re-discovering what I've got. On my return I was greeted by the wonderful wool that I got in England as well as some Canadian wool I'd arranged to buy in the spring. It is better than Christmas!

Yep, better than Christmas!

This is a close-up of the beautiful 'gulmoget' shetland fleece. 

Lovely Silvery BFL (Blue-Faced Leicester) Shetland Cross

Vancouver - On The Way Home

We stopped in Vancouver on the way home to spoil ourselves and slowly recover from our jet lag...

We stayed in a great apartment with a hot tub(!) right near Vancouver Granville Island Market.

Saw some family and our accountant Gary who is a long term family friend :-) to get our taxes done ;-(

We are unsure whether we will be able to return to Vancouver again before Christmas, but we sure hope so.

Fishmonger Granville Island

Green grocer (costermonger) Granville Island
Me, going just a little bit crazy, in Miawa supply on Granville Island. I love fabric, buttons, dyes and notions and this shop has it all. You can see how much more in the next photo how much they have ... Even the dog was allowed in, which made her very happy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Italy, I miss your coffee bars

I've said it before, I'll say it again. If all of Italy was run like they run their cafe bars, the world would be a better place. You step up to the marble counter, make your order, and you've got it in a lovely china cup, at a perfect drinking temperature, within 60 seconds. If you want to linger, that's fine too, pick a table and settle in for a leisurely sip. If you feel in need of something with a little kick, there's everything from rum to bubbly. If you're hungry you can get a sweet or savoury nibble. It is fast, friendly, warm and the dog is welcome. Just what I like.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 2015

We got back to town just in time to see all the fabulous trick 'o treaters and their parents. I'm torn about my favourite this year. Among the 67 'kids' was a little girl who looked like Zorro/red ridding hood. In fact, with her foxy mask in place she was the wolf who ate red ridding hood! Her parents were dressed as zombie bikers and looked like they were having a great time too. Then there was the young man, at least 6 feet tall, who was dressed as Woody from the Toy Story searies. His costume was so spot on I just loved it. There were also some great Hogwarts charaters, Mrs. Mcgonagall, Hermione. Overall, lots of zombies.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

We're Home!

We got home lateish last night, collapsed into bed and awoke this morning to fresh snow. My next thought was; "where the heck are my mittens?!"

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Homeward Bound

Rome to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Vancouver, Vancouver to Whitehorse. That's our route. Rome to Frankfurt on a very reasonable afternoon flight after some drama of trying to get all the stuff into the luggage we have. We ended up buying more luggage, which lasted 5 minutes before the front zipper broke. Sigh. Trying to get us, the luggage, the dog crate and the dog into a station wagon was even more fun. We did the magical mystery tour of Rome, and saw some new things.

Check in took quite a long time because we had a dog. The tail back of our fellow passengers was getting rather agitated by the time the gate agents were finally done with us. The flight was smooth and short, Isla was very happy to see us at the other end. We left the mass of luggage at the bag storage and checked into the Steigenberger hotel - lovely! It is situated right beside a huge forest which makes this Canadian feel right at home.

We took the opportunity to travel into Frankfurt by train.

We weren't fully prepared for how cold it would be, so we satisfied ourselves by a quick meal and returned to the hotel. The dog was happy to go with us and we were happy to have her. We love how welcome she is in Germany. The restaurant even brought her a dog bowl!

The next day our flight was at 10:40, with the dog we needed to be there 3 hours before. Sigh. Up we got, off we went. I can't say enough good stuff about Lufthansa, at the Frankfurt terminal we asked where to check in for business class (Yay aeroplan points!). In fact, there is a special check in area for people travelling with pets. What a great idea. We've encountered folks who are stuck dealing with dogs who are actually afraid of them (hello YVR, we are talking about you). At that point we discovered that Isla's cage was supposed to have a dish attached to the door so that the folks handling the dog could give her water. We'd put a dish in her cage, but that was not cool. The very kind man in line with his dog gave us his spare! People are really good.

Christopher breezed through passport control, much to our amazement. The officer asked him if he'd really been in the EU for 5 months, looked at his colleage, shook his head, and stamped his passport. All the work for the permisso di sojourno was for a magic talisman obviously.

Arriving in Canada after the 10 hour flight was amazingly simple.  Breezed through passport control again, even after checking 'yes' on two of the boxes on the declaration (do you have fruits or vegtables, and do you have goods in excess of your allowed exemptions). No duty owed. Unfortunately for us, and the dog, who really had to pee, we had to clear agricultural officers - to the cost of $31. The cashier was slower than cold molasses, ignoring the poor whimpering, shaking dog. Then the line to get out of the customs area was forever... anyway, Isla made it without soiling her crate and was very excited to be back with us.

We're in Vancouver in a lovely loft apartment with a private balcony and hot tub! Jet lagged....

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Roman Sunday lunch

We have a great fishmonger in the local market where we've spent quite a bit of money. This guy is an 'orata' which is apparently a sea bream. All I know is that it is tasty! I was inspired to make this dish after eating something similar in Venice recently...

 With it we had the last bottle of the French wine we'd been accidentially hording. It was at the back of the cupboard and we found it as we were cleaning out for the epic pack. I also made some very nice spinach, just quickly wilted in a hot fry pan with a bit of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

This was desert. Here they call it 'cachi' which is pronounced the same as the colour 'khaki'. If I've understood the info google gave me, it is a bitter persimmon that is so over ripe all the bitterness is gone. It is certainly one of the sweetest fruits I've ever tasted. I like it, but think it's an acquired taste, or perhaps I should say texture. Mostly, I wanted to try it because I've seen them every where here and never in Whitehorse. I'd also seen a lovely painting of persimmons recently that was equally inspiring. 

The serving recommendation of the green grocer was to just eat it like an apple. I'm glad that I cut off the top and scooped out the insides with a spoon.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Roman Cafe Life

Do you have a snack for me?

Waiting for our drinks...

Dogs are welcome pretty much everywhere except the grocery store. So, instead we go to the covered market at the end of the street, the butcher on the corner and the bakery in between the two. 

One of the best features of Italy are the cafes. They are everywhere  and they all have something to recommend them. This one is on Piazza Regina Margarita catches the afternoon sun and has good gin.  

Post cards to be written

The last Italian stamps - which are not stamps but instead, ugly little digital printouts.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Roman Autumn

As our sojourn in Europe draws to an end we are getting lovely weather here in Rome. It feels like a Canadian Indian summer, warm days, cooler evenings and that lovely autumnal bite to the breeze. Of course, being Italy, the locals have decided that it is downright frigid and have donned scarves, puffy jackets, boots and woolly sweaters - although oddly, not hats and gloves which is the Canadian response to real cold. I think Romans fear that a hat would disrupt their lovely coiffure. I am slightly worried about what will happen when I get back to Whitehorse. We are also a bit concerned for the dog, who has decided to start shedding again. We hope she is preparing a deep downy undercoat for her return to the Yukon. If not, she'll be wearing her own overcoats all winter...