"about me"

Substitutions

A cup of black tea when what I really want is a nap.

Rebellion when what I really want is understanding and acceptance.

A day hitting the books when what I really want is a day lost in a book.

A trip to town through the snow when what I really want is to bunker in against the snow.

Whoever said, "Accept no substitutes" must not have been a mom.

Ding 33!*

Another year marker snuck** up on me on Tuesday, and passed by without much to-do, actually. Well, unless you count the 40+ Facebook well-wishers, as well as several phone and e-mail ones, and three adorable boys and one adorable hubby... which, of course, I do!

Also, as I already posted to Facebook, on my way home that day (I spent the day "out and about" doing various errands, including getting a few more chickens for my decimated flock) when I was stopping for a few groceries I bought myself 2 tubs of Breyers ice cream as a "birthday treat." They were on sale for 2/$8, after all! When I got home, I found out that Jason had already taken advantage of the same deal! We had even each picked one kind of ice cream that was the same! PLUS! He bought pie. Mmmm... pie.

Then, when I picked up the mail on Thursday, there were even more well-wishers. And a big, interesting package from my mother-in-law! With fun presents inside! One of which was this:



I fell in love with it the moment I laid eyes on it. The first thing I used it for was to make homemade bread tonight. Mmm... bread.

Mmm... birthdays. I think we eat yummy treats so that we actually look forward to getting older.

*My brother advised me that this is the proper way to celebrate hitting "the next level" in gamer culture. I didn't physically shout this, Logan, but considering I have almost 70 visitors a day, more people will hear it this way.

**I take umbrage to the fact that my spell checker does not recognize "snuck" as a word. Everyone I know says "snuck." Well, everyone from Alberta that I know says "snuck". Past tense of "sneak". Who would say "sneaked"? It sounds like you got hit in the head with a running shoe!

Summer Getaway

It wasn't anything grand--just a weekend visiting the folks' at our home stomping grounds. But it was good. There was lots of driving, of course, but also lots of visiting, including all of both Jason's and my living grandparents. There was family gossip and tea and food and trampolines and Koda (yes, he came with us).






My Grandma's raspberries:


Yum!

Thanks to a trustworthy neighbour, my chickens and garden were all in wonderful condition when I got home, too.

What a great weekend.

Gift Wrapped

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it 'The Present'."
-Eleanor Roosevelt (? - original source uncertain)


"In summer, the song sings itself."
-William Carlos Williams


It has been an interesting week, full of "things wrapped up."

On Monday, Jude did his last math test, scoring 93%. Even though we have been finished all of his other school stuff since the end of April, we had a late start on math (the books came late, 'cause they were back-ordered), so he has been working on it steadily for the last couple of months. He was pretty excited to finally finish it--and so was I!



On Wednesday, Jabin and Noah had their soccer BBQ and wrap-up. It turned out to be a beautiful day, and we all ate cheap hotdogs on cheap white buns and managed to not even pay a price for it the next day! (Sorry, I forgot the camera in the van, and was too lazy to go dig it out, so no photos.)

Also on Wednesday, I wrapped up nearly a week of intensive work on the last six months of my business books from 2009, and also getting my tax return completed. YAY! That's the earliest I have completed my tax return in five years of business. I was all caught up on my books just before we left Mena--and haven't been since. But I'm getting there!

On Thursday, Jude's golf lessons wrapped up with a putting competition and some prizes. Also, more hotdogs on white buns. At least these were half-decent hotdogs this time.



Thursday afternoon and evening, I celebrated the "finishing-of-the-taxes" with several hours of scrapbooking at Amanda's. This is one of the three layouts I completed. Why yes, I am still behind with my photos, why do you ask?



Today, Jason is wrapping up work before a week of holidays. We are very excited, because other than being sick or moving, Jason has not had any time off for, um,... I think about two years? Maybe longer? It's definitely time. We are hoping to spend a little time in Sylvan Lake, but also to get some projects done around here. I will keep you updated!

Also today, Noah is at his last day of school for the year at Kindergarten. Then, I will officially have a third grader, a first grader, and kindergartner in the house--well, "going intos", anyway.

Mark and Colleen passed through on Monday night on their way (moving) back to Yellowknife from Vancouver area. Unfortunately, Jason was away for the night for work, and it had been a long, stressful day for me with the kids (long story which I'm not sharing here), and it didn't work out to get together. However, she left me "a little something" that she picked up for me in Portland, Oregon, and I was able to get last night while at Amanda's.


A knitting coaster--combining two of my great loves in classic, vintage style. Does this girl know me, or what? Thank you, Colleen. It's perfect.

Now, without taxes looming, I am hearing the siren call of summer like a lullaby from heaven. I am looking forward to an endless string of summer afternoons at the splash park, or scrapbooking, or stitching, or knitting, or visiting friends, or gardening, or camping, or all of those on the same day (okay, maybe not quite). Somewhere in there (and soon) I have to plan school for next year, and I also have a goal of catching up on this year's books and STAYING caught up, so there will be none of this "late-with-the-taxes" nonsense next year. (Jason's pretty excited about that, too.)

What have YOU been up to this week, friends?

My Style


The hubby's sleeping. Two of the kids are sleeping. I am taking a second day "off" in a row--and scrapbooking for the first time in months.

The photos in this layout were taken in January of 2009. Here is another photo of the dress under the coat, taken last fall with my stylin', comfy (and modest! when the wind blows the dress up à la Marilyn Monroe) red-with-white-polka-dots bloomers:


I made this dress in January of '09 while Jason was in Nashville at the Financial Peace Counselor training. In fact, I believe that it was only the second time I'd worn it in the layout photos. It ended up looking much more like the cotton dresses my grandmother wore in the 50's and 60's than I thought it would, but I like it. I also like that I raided my mom's vintage button stash for it, and that there are at least three different styles and sizes of buttons on it.

Here is another example of my vintage, eclectic style: the dress I made and designed in December of 2009 out of a rather heavy denim that my mom had given me:


This was inspired by a desire to stay warm and to look stylish at the same time. The pleated ruffles are cut on the bias and unfinished, so after it had been washed a couple of times the edges got a little fuzzy and stood out more, especially the one on the skirt. Again, my favourite part is the buttons. I find that I can usually make entire dresses for under $20, but if $12-$15 of that is spent on buttons, it makes the whole dress look more expensive. (Free material really helps!)

The journaling on my layout reads:

"If it's a little vintage,
A little unique,
A little modern
A little chic,
A little classy,
A little sweet,
A little homemade,
A little neat,
A little red,
And versatile,
Once all that's said
It's Just My Style."

Obsession?

My dad once compared me to Emma on Corner Gas. I hadn't seen the episode (Season 3, "Dog River Vice") at the time, but he figured that if I ever took a bet that I could stop knitting longer than someone else could stop doing something, I would end up just like Emma and be knitting the air with my hands.

I don't know if I am quite THAT bad. But I have been known to knit at stop lights. And during baby showers (the gift wasn't quite done!) and the occasional church annual general meeting. And during many a game of Scrabble or Settlers of Catan (sometimes people take a really LONG time on their turns!)

Therefore, you can imagine my surprise (more like dumb shock) when, last Wednesday night, I discovered that nine years ago, while teaching myself the purl stitch from dim, dusty memories of my grandmother's instructions at the age of five, I taught myself wrong!! And have been doing it wrong ever since, which is why my stockinette stitch pieces always had crossed stitches on them. (I just thought everyone's knitting looked like that! It wasn't until someone commented on it that I began to notice that no one's knitting looked like that! Why, yes, I'm a natural blond, why do you ask?) It worked, it just looked a little odd--and I am fairly certain that is why I have not always been able to get various techniques to work for me. I immediately found videos of how to do it the right way, of course--but it will take a while for the new motions to become as ingrained in my muscle memory as the old ones are were. (I keep telling my fingers that it's a "were!")



However, despite comparisons to Emma and Chicken Run's Babs (above), I still don't think anyone could top this:


Family members, take note: if I ever run out of yarn, make sure you hide the scissors!

Five Random Things, er, Tuesday? : Me

So, I just realized that I totally botched up "Five Random Things Monday" on my second week in. Oops. I thought about blogging yesterday, but thought, I don't really need to. Oops again.

So, here we are, a day late, but hopefully not a dollar short. Since I'm the authoress of this blog, I'm going to have to get creative to think of something that I haven't mentioned at least once in the last four (!) years. Speaking of which, I just noticed that, once again, I let my bloggiversary slip by unnoticed on Sunday. Happy Birthday, Winters' Day In!


Time for four, originally uploaded by Anniko 1996.

  1. Eggs: As a child, I didn't like eggs, but I could eat them if they were scrambled. What I really didn't like was the yolk, especially if it was runny. I couldn't handle fried eggs until I was a teenager, and then only if the yolk was broken and cooked hard. Over the last five years, though, I have slowly developed a taste for over-medium, and then over-easy eggs. I especially love poached soft on toast with butter. Mmmm... Just goes to show ya: You CAN learn to like something that's good for you!
  2. Cooking: Speaking of eggs, you'd think I would have learned how to boil them by now. For a while, I seemed to have a perfect system. However, every cooktop seems to be a little different, and--judging from last night's effort--I need to rework my current method. Sigh. (See, Rohini? I still screw up boiled eggs, too!)
  3. Knitting: I have decided it's finally time to learn to knit socks. In the past, I've kind of muddled my own way around and figured out how to do a short-row heel (which I used to design slipper-socks), but frankly, I never really saw the value of spending the amount of time it would require to make this rather mundane project with millions of teeny stitches on teeny needles that would just get worn out quicker than most... until recently. Actually, it started in 2006, when Vogue Knitting published their winter edition with a sock focus, and I started to see the potential for beautiful gorgeous, brightly-coloured socks that let you try out new techniques on a small canvas. The clincher, though, was getting frustrated at how very quickly commercially-made socks seem to wear out on little boys. I'm hoping that a pair of well-made, wool socks will keep their feet warmer for longer. I hope it won't just be that I'll have spent more time and effort to make something that wears out just as quickly! I guess we'll see.
  4. Leadership: Lately I've been pondering about the many leadership roles I have filled in my life. I have been thrust into them since I was quite young, and seemingly often. I have never campaigned to be put there, or gone to seek them out. I do them because they need to be done, I have the skills to do them, and someone has to. I feel a responsibility to help shape the world I live in, instead of complaining about it ("Being the change I wish to see in the world"), so I step up and fill the need. I'm not complaining about this--it is obviously a gift God has given me, and to not use that gift for good would be, in my opinion, ungrateful, as well as showing me to be a foolish steward. But honestly, when it all comes down to it? Most times, I'd rather stay home and knit. Let someone else take the flack and the stress that comes with leadership. (Don't worry, I'm not throwing in the towel anytime soon. Like the character Cicero says in the movie Gladiator, "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time I do what I have to.")
  5. Typing Speed: According to this site, I type at a net speed of about 71 wpm, with 95% accuracy (when I'm trying, apparently.) But if I could take a test using the text I type every day several times while doing my business e-mails (since there are a few things I just have to type with every transaction I have), I bet it would be about 150 wpm with 100% accuracy. I don't really know how to find that out without a friend and a stopwatch. (Also, I bet if I re-take that test tonight, when I'm not sitting square in the middle of a sunbeam during my afternoon lull, my score will go up. If I remember to try it again later, I'll let you know.)
Edit: I just noticed on Wikipedia that an average professional typist reaches about 50-70 wpm, and that the "average computer user" is considered "fast" at 40wpm. Suddenly, I feel better, for some reason!

Spot o' Tea?

THIS week, I was staying up stupid hours, re-learning HTML so I could re-vamp my eBay listings (which I still have not finished), and catching Noah's cold for my efforts.

THIS week, I didn't have time to blog, or to do anything particularly blog-worthy.

But LAST week, I made a new dress, which I love!

I've always loved wearing dresses, and this winter I have discovered that I can wear dresses in the wintertime, too, if I layer up. I've taken a cue from those Regency women, with their chemises, stockings, pantalettes, and long gowns, and found I can stay cozy warm in the draftiest of houses! Thus, my typical daily fashion this winter has been tights, socks (often wool), pants (usually jeans) or bloomers (more about these in a later post), a chemise (I have one in linen and one in broadcloth--the linen is my favourite), a turtleneck or shirt, and a calf-length dress. Sometimes, I also put a cardigan over top.

Until recently, I haven't actually owned any long dresses, other than my wedding dress. And I'm not about to pop my wedding dress on for working around the house, going to town, or any other reason! (Assuming I could even get into it anymore--which I can't!)

I was a little stunned a couple of weeks ago when I put on one of my favourite green calico dresses, which I have owned for eleven years, and discovered that it had actually worn out around the armholes (it was sleeveless)! I had already been planning a trip to the fabric store that day, and was thrilled to discover that they actually had a sale on--something that's kind of rare in our local fabric store. I picked up some poly-wool tweed for only $4/m. I knew already that this dress would be down to my ankles, and it would be inspired by the Regency styles I love so much. I was going for warmth, here.



The photo above and below show the front closure on this dress. I was altering a pattern from Sense & Sensibility Patterns that actually had a black closure (but who wants a button-up back?!! Yikes! We don't have dressers and maids anymore!) I styled this front closure after the style of many of the dresses in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie.


I succeeded. This thing is like wearing a warm blanket. And nothing makes you feel more British than wearing a Regency-style dress in tweed!

Maybe not the sexiest thing I've ever made--but it's modest, it's warm, it's comfortable and it does the job.

And, most importantly, I like it!

The Most Difficult Time of the Year

I get very frustrated during this season. As someone trying to live out my faith in Yeshua (Jesus) the way that He would have me do, I am very saddened to see so many celebrating a festival that is only nominally in his honour, and which has origins that are surprisingly dark. Each passing year, this holiday gets more difficult for me to accept and even tolerate. For anyone wondering about where the many traditions of Christmas actually came from, and what the Bible really has to say about it, I recommend reading the following article.

The Shocking Origins of Christmas: Should Christians today celebrate this ancient festival? Many today may think it is all right, but the opinions of men are not our standard or authority. What does the Word of YEHOVAH God itself say about this matter? It is a very serious question. Is it all right in the sight of YEHOVAH for men to take pagan customs and traditions, and to observe them, calling them "Christian"? Is it all right to merge and combine PAGAN practices with the truth of YEHOVAH God?

According to the prophet Malachi, YEHOVAH does not change (Mal.3:8). His laws and commandments are eternal (Psa. 111:7-8). Does YEHOVAH say it is all right to observe the traditions and customs of the pagans?

May you and your family be blessed.

Top 5's

This is just a little "survey of me" of my current faves:

Top 5 favourite recorded albums:

1. Steven Curtis Chapman - Declaration
2. Josh Groban - Awake
3. Alison Krauss - Now That I've Found You
4. Bianca Ryan - Bianca Ryan
5. Mark Schultz - Stories & Songs

Bonus (because I couldn't decide): Casting Crowns - Lifesong

Top 5 favourite fiction books:

1. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. Pay It Forward - Catherine Ryan Hyde
3. A Voice In The Wind (series) - Francine Rivers
4. Otherland (series) - Tad Williams
5. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo

Top 5 favourite movies:

1. You've Got Mail
2. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
3. The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (okay, all three really)
4. Happy Feet
5. Gladiator

That's all the top 5's I feel like narrowing down right now. I thought of doing top 5 favourite songs, but I think the sheer impossibility of me deciding on only 5 favourites would put me into a nervous breakdown, so we're just going to stop here.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Waiting for the Freedom Train

Is it really Thursday? Seriously? Isn't that day usually preceeded by a Monday, Tuesday, and a Wednesday? What happened to those days?

We are less than two weeks into summer, and it has already been going by with a blinding speed that leaves me dizzy. We went down to Sylvan Lake last weekend for the goings-on and family reunion surrounding Uncle Dale's funeral. As wonderful as it was to see members of Jason's family that we have rarely (or never!) seen before, I was a little sad that I didn't get to see more of my own. I spent a few hours with my dad, and got to wave at my cousin through our vehicle windows when we spotted her next to us at a traffic light. I had stayed until Monday, thinking I would get to visit with some friends before coming home, but by the time I got us all packed and did the bit of shopping I had to do, it was just time to leave. And really, after three-and-a-half days of solid socialization, I was "visited out."

So, this week is "tax" week. This statement implies that I have been working on them non-stop. Well, that is not actually the case. This is just the week I have set up as the deadline in my mind (you know, as opposed to the actual deadline which was over two months ago!) that they must be done by.

I was doing so good before we left Mena. Since we were going to be leaving on March 25, and I knew I would not be able to get them done on time if they weren't finished by then, I worked hard to get all my books caught up and ready to just plunk numbers into the tax form before I left. I almost made it. Then I had to pack my computer. (My PC, not my laptop. The information I need to do taxes is all on my PC, and not easily transferrable. Difficult to explain--you're just going to have to trust me on this one.)

So. We got to Alberta on April 17, three whole days before the tax deadline. Where was my computer? Buried in the Sea Can. Which was buried in the snow on our melting and soggy property. It was sometime in late May or early June before we even got to unpack it. Since then, there have always been about a million things to do that demanded time and attention, so although I have been progressing on books and taxes, the progress has been slow.

So this is the week. The taxes will be done. Then I can feel free to scrapbook without guilt. (I have only made three paper and three digital pages since leaving Mena. That's a total of, um, lemme count... Six pages! In four months. Pretty sad compared to my "page-a-day" goal of last year.) I can read a book! (I've had Penelope sitting on my "to-read-for-pleasure-when-I-can-do-it-without-feeling-guilty pile since February.) I've been anxious to read. And sew. And jump on the tramp. And... and... and...

Only a few hours of work left. Maybe I can get it done today. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Won't the freedom be amazing?!

Oh, wait... After that, then I have to do eBay store maintenance. Shoot! Don't tell my boss, but I might take a couple of days off for me before I start on that. My boss wouldn't like that at all.

She can be a real slave driver that way.

What are you doing with your summer vacation, friends?

Looking Up

The funk has passed. The wind has changed. Yes, it brought with it about 2 inches of snow, but that is almost gone again already, thankfully!

I got snagged in the $4 clearance rack at Walmart the other night, so I now have a couple more shirts to choose from.

And, for those of you who were concerned, none of the comments in the last post had anything to do with my marriage. Jason and I are still going strong, and will be for many, many years to come.

Changes are good. They stretch. Sometimes the stretching hurts, that's all. Like birthing a baby--one has to stretch a lot for that. It hurts like you have never experienced pain before. Things never go quite back to the way they were after that. But you would not trade that experience--and it's outcome--for anything in the whole world.

Tonight, Jason is over at Magnussons', helping to paint the last bit of cement basement floor. Do you know what that means?

Tomorrow we get to start moving in!!

I am so. excited. about that.

Now, the remaining work to do on my tax return that must be started the moment my computer is set up again?

Not so much.

Hello, Body. Welcome back.

I remember you, waist. And what's this unfamiliar feeling of muscle tone in my arm? It's been a while since that's been there.

I am finished my Maker's Diet 40-day health experience as of tomorrow. In that time, I have achieved many of the goals I set when I started. My new goals are 200 skips a day and 75 crunches a day. I am still working on being able to to a push-up while on my toes (upper body strength has always been a struggle for me) and to drop the last two pounds that are hanging on. BUT! I dropped about 8 pounds since I started--enough for me to get myself my reward!

Here I am in the new outfit. Sorry that I couldn't get a better photo--we don't have a better full-length mirror than this. (All self-portraits should have toilets in the background. I learned that from Cathy Zielske.)

One of the permanent habits that seems to have been broken from my cleanse is my dependence on caffeinated beverages to get me through the day. I would often drink up to 3 cups of orange pekoe tea in a day before I started, sometimes substituting one of them for home-made cocoa. Okay, I still like chocolate, and have had a couple of cups since entering "Phase 3" of the diet (which is basically your everyday routine diet on this program, after the "blood-sugar-balancing-cleanse" is finished.) But I have been substituting my regular tea habit with a hot cup of water with a couple of drops of essential oil (peppermint or lemon are my favourites) and some honey, and discovered that I really like it. Most of the time, I just wanted something warm to drink, anyway. This way, I am actually giving my body the benefits of the oil and honey, as well. And my singing voice is thanking me. Last Saturday I had a cup of tea, just like I used to, and you know what? I didn't enjoy it that much. Weird. (It's partly because of the cream here. I am not sure if it is a result of the ultra-pasteurization, which is bad, bad, BAD! for you, or what, but it makes everything too creamy. And also, I have not been able to find a decent black tea here, either. How I long for some good ol' Red Rose! Okay, not really anymore. That is the whole point of this paragraph, after all.)

In other news: (I also stole that from Cathy--it seemed to work today.)

What the heck has Talena been up to? you ask. Okay, maybe you weren't. But looking back in a couple of years, I might ask it. So, here's a quick update on my life at the moment:

We are leaving in 13 days. Eep! So, understandably, I am doing all the typical "moving" things: packing boxes, losing labeling markers, changing addresses, losing patience, saying goodbyes, losing my mind... you know. You've moved before, right? Across a continent, right? Between countries, right? No? Well, I can't say as I would recommend it.

Ironically, the Canadian government is making it much more difficult to move back than the American government made it to leave. When we came down here, since we hit the border at midnight with three sleeping kids in a van and a moving truck so jam-packed full that the entire contents threatened to land on the pavement when we started opening it, they didn't even inspect our stuff. The nicest border guards I have ever met processed the visas for the kids and I, took a peripheral look at the list I made of our goods, asked Jason a few questions about the list which he didn't know the answers to (while I was getting the visas), and let us through. It was truly evidence of divine intervention.

On the way home? No, different story. We have to fill out loads of paperwork. If we want to bring in the nearly-new used mattress we were given, we have to have it fumigated and certified. We have to prove that the stuff we are bringing is "Canadian goods returning to Canada." How the heck are we supposed to do that, when most of it is second-or-third hand in the first place?! They all have "Made in China" slapped on them somewhere, anyway! (That's a rhetorical question, by the way.)

Despite the general apathy about healthful living in this area, I have actually found a few health-minded people who have joined my Young Living team lately, so I have also been busy training them and helping them get started. I have recently learned how to do Raindrop Technique (a procedure that combines using essential oils on the spine with light massage and nerve stimulation), and performed it three times and had it done on me once in a five-day span. Thanks to this, I experienced some painful soreness as a detox symptom earlier in the week, which has thankfully subsided now. Also thanks to this detox, the last stubborn patch of psoriasis on my right hand is looking healthier than it has in years. Yay!

Last, but not least, I have been writing songs--and recording them. Inspired mostly by a reminder that someone actually wants me to write for them, I have created three new songs in the last week, one of which is probably the best song I have ever written (or at least, its my new favourite. Right now, it's my opinion we're discussing.) A friend down here who has a recording hobby is giving me a super deal on getting some demo tracks laid down, so I am trying to work that in amongst everything else that is going on.

So can you see why I haven't had much time for blogging? Yikes!

In other other news:

Jason bought a little truck, finally. It's a '99 red Ford Ranger. I can't wait to see it. It will be so nice to have two vehicles again when we are all back in Alberta. Also, pretty much a necessity, since we will now be a "rural family." I don't have pics, sorry. (I have the camera in Arkansas. Jason has the truck in Alberta. We'll cut him some slack.)

Speaking of being rural, I finally got the seeds for my new garden ordered yesterday. "New" as in, I will be starting from scratch. I have never been much of a gardener, so I will really be starting from scratch. Thank goodness for the internet! Plus, I have already used my "Phone a Friend" option and called on Robin B. to help me out. I am sure she will get a few more panicked phone calls over the summer, but I tried to choose veggies that are pretty easy to grow. So long as I get my garden created on time, I am sure it will be fine. Really, it will.

Well, I better go practice! Got lots to do today! Hugs to you, friends!