Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bumps, Curves and Straight Road

Isn't life just like that?  Never really know what's ahead but I have learned that like a good car, I have to have good shock absorbers and have a strong enough engine to keep traveling those more challenging bits of the road trip.

The year of my 50th birthday was unimaginably straight, flat roads with some delightful scenery.  It was such a year of fun and pleasant surprises.  It's the year we went to the Caribbean, the year we bought a new vehicle and did some major renovations in our house and, it's the year we bought our little home in Provence. Everything slid into place with very little effort.

This year of my 55th birthday is a little more of a bumpy ride. Although I have a good car, there have already been a few near misses with the boob thing and a skin thing.

I have been going up a long hill lately with a bladder thing.  Used to be, I'd have a UTI and one prescription would wipe it out.  Now... three prescriptions later, I'm not feeling it.

Car needs to be parked for a few weeks and with an overhaul and some TLC will be able to hit the road again confidently.  Just a few more hundred kilometres to go and I will be able to give it a good rest, clean and polish.

Then, it will be the winding, narrow roads through vine country, but I think the car will be able to handle it.



Monday, February 25, 2013

Sock Update

Here is my second pair of socks in progress.  I understand the Yarn Harlot who knits more socks than anything else.  It is a compact project that you can take anywhere with you.  I knit during the second half of my lunch break today.  It is calming and fun at the same time, it was exciting to see the pattern emerge. These will probably go to our youngest son...
Later, when I become more skilled, I want to use something like this yarn to make some for V.  I think a body could get used to handmade cashmere socks.

O.k.  I will stop blogging about socks now.

Au revoir!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sock Knitting, Check!

One of the things on my bucket list was to learn to knit socks.  Not just one pair, many pairs, for people I love.

Last month, a colleague, upon hearing of my wish, gifted me with a started-but-not-completed-pair of socks with the statement: "If you can finish them, you can have them."

Well, with a little help from my friend Lorraine, I finished them Friday night.

In order not to forget lessons learned, I have dug up a couple balls of sock yarn that I purchased at least fifteen years ago... you see, my wish is an old one, and have cast on 72, instead of 64 stitches for man socks.  V. or D. will inherit these.

I'm a happy girl.

xo Stella

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sit or Stand

Got a new set up at work today.  My workstation can now be raised or lowered depending on how I want to work.

I am thinking that this may keep Hazel at bay.  I have had twelve visits at the physiotherapist's and two of these have been for IMS and it huuurrrrts.  The needle is pushed in (quite aggressively if you ask me) and the muscle contracts big time... it makes my toes curl.

Anyhoo, I can now be seen standing in my cutebicle any time morning or afternoon.  I suspect I will stand more as the day wears on.

Now, if I can just get the veins in my legs to cooperate!



Monday, February 18, 2013

On the Knitting Needles

I've had a couple of skeins of Kidsilk Night by Rowan for a couple of years and I never could decide what to do with them.  Last weekend, when I went to the yarn store, they were giving out this pattern for free.  It's called Gathered Scarf and you can get it here.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mom's Tourtière Recipe

Kam, a reader,  requested my Mom's recipe for Tourtière.  Here it is with a pinch in my heart because Mom is no longer here to enjoy her reputation for making best Tourtière ever,  hands down.

For three good size Tourtières:

3 lbs ground pork browned
Add 2 large chopped onions and 3-4 cloves of garlic minced, all softened with the meat
Salt and pepper to taste
Add 1 cup water and boil down breaking down large lumps for a smooth mixture

Add 1 tsp sage
Add 1 tsp savoury
Add 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

Let cool

Make pie crust in a standard pie tin and fill with pork.  Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Tourtière may be partially baked and frozen and kept for several months in the freezer.


In a medium saucepan:

1 can cubed tomatoes
2 chopped onions
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice

Bring to a gentle boil for 45 minutes.  Thicken with a bit of cornstarch in water.  (This is how her recipe is written.  I would go with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, if you think it should be a little thicker, add a little!)  Put into jars or plastic containers and keep in the fridge.

Love and hugs on this Valentine's Day!

Kiss kiss Mom...


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Photo via

Intramuscular stimulation.  That is what I had yesterday, my 9th visit to the physiotherapist for some knotted up muscles in my back.

IMS is basically, acupuncture directly in the muscle to stimulate a muscle spasm.  Did I say it hurts?

Over ten years ago, my friend Debbie and I were returning home from a reading circle.  We were stopped at a red light and were hit by a semi-trailer whose driver had not properly estimated his stopping distance.

I was hit by my car seat which then flopped back, broken.  The assessment was soft tissue damage to the upper right hand quadrant of my back.

Since then, I have developed a persistent little knot in my back, so persistent in fact that I have named her... Hazel.

Hazel Knot has been a nuisance to me for a long time, too long in fact and my wonderful physiotherapist, Anita and I have decided that it's time to take out the big guns. Said guns in the form of a thicker kind of acupuncture needle. Did I mention that it hurts like the Dickens?

It is my fervent hope that Hazel and I will part ways in the next few weeks, she will be missed but not mourned.



Monday, February 11, 2013


Last week, I told you that I made pie crust with my sister D. with her great Bosch mixer.  This weekend, I made tourtière or pâté à la viande, a great holiday staple of my childhood.  In fact, tourtière, a spiced pork pie sometimes including cubed potatoes,  is a favorite French Canadian dish.

Needless to say, the crust was nearly perfect.  Light and tasty, I roll it up on the thin side and it is a perfect complement to the lean pork with onions, sage, savoury and garlic flavorings.  The red stuff beside is is our mother's own ketchup recipe.  It contains large pieces of tomato and sliced onions and is slightly sweet, an excellent companion to the tourtière.

If you are ever in Québec city, THE place to eat typical French Canadian dishes is at Aux Anciens Canadiens.

I made cretons too, I know, it the same word as the unsavoury character, but this is another delicious French Canadian treat that I will talk to you about on another day.

Have a good one!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Oh Brother!

Yesterday, V. and I were invited to some friends for drinks and appies, or appetizers.  We do this occasionally on a Friday and start around 5pm.

We look forward to meeting as we have gotten to know them well over the years.  We share a great deal about retirement and retirement planning and are open and frank with each other in order to help each other work it all out.

Later that evening, my friend began speaking badly of another friend of mine.  This was the second occurence during the evening although the first was just a hint of a comment about another friend.

Eventually, I spoke up, told her that this talk made me feel unsafe and made me wonder, what she might say about me in my absence.

Big booboo.  In the movies, in novels, friends tell each other how they feel and it's o.k. but in real life, it doesn't always work out that way does it?  Certainly not for me.

After an hour of working through my comment about her comment, I ended up apologizing and frankly, crying because I opened my big mouth.

I know what went wrong, I expressed myself when I was upset and that rarely works, it only makes things worse.

I wish I were more diplomatic and that I could tell people how I feel without hurting them.

Feeling sheepish,


Monday, February 4, 2013


Discovered this while surfing on Pinterest.  Don't know if you can surf Pinterest... is there another verb?  
Anyway, I discovered this neat word cloud tool.  Go check it out!