If you are from Halifax and reading this, you probably know that last Friday was White Stripes day in Halifax. Jack and Meg had been playing free secret shows in most towns during their cross-Canada tour, so anticipation had built to fever pitch by Friday the 13th, the date of their Halifax show. That afternoon hordes of fans were seen scuttling between Citadel Hill and the Public Gardens, as laptops and cell phones buzzed with rumours of where the show would be. Some lucky Haligonians witnessed the White Stripes as they (well, Meg) supervised the firing of the daily noon gun.

I had given up on the possibility of seeing the freebie show, because a friend I hadn’t seen in years was in town for an all-too-brief visit. But while was wandering the waterfront with my friend and her cousins, admiring the tall ships, we got a phone call. It was Bill who said he was standing outside Locas Bar and I was all like, yeah so what? Then it hit me and I knew exactly why he was calling before he said another word. So I temporarily ditched my dear pal and scuttled up the hill and there we were. Bill and the girls had happened to be passing by and overheard people saying this was The Place. They had gotten there early, but the crowd was getting really big. We were not too far back and if the rumour was true this time, we thought we might have a chance to get in.

We were so close, we were touching the door when they stopped letting people in. Drag. It was annoying because of the little shits who butted in the line and got in ahead of us, but since we had tickets for the show later that night, we weren’t too upset.

I hope this makes The Loop a little bit cool by association. The Loop is already super-cool, but now that The White Stripes played in the building next door – even cooler.

The show that night was really good. Loud, energetic, fun. If you really want to you will be able to find eloquent reviews elsewhere. One thing I found interesting about the experience is that several people (mostly family) asked us “Who are the White Stripes?”. If they don’t know, how do you explain it? “They are a blues band.” “They are a really loud and talented rock band. But it’s only two people. They used to be married to each other, but now he is married to a supermodel.” It’s almost easier not to try to explain them to people who don’t listen to “alternative” music. It was a great event in part because bands like this – probably as ‘big’ as it gets without being mainstream – don’t come to Halifax much.

Bill took a lot of really good photos. Here are a couple.

Meg looking deceptively peaceful

Jack lookin’ kinda hot in a skirt


… It’s ‘Ocean Mist’, the latest “theme” from WordPress.  I wonder if I will like it.

EDIT: No I didn’t really like it. Back to the “Cutline” theme.

April 10th is Clark’s birthday, he will be turning 15. I think that makes him the equivalent of 76 people-years. He is still a handsome fellow. He is growing some warts and is a little more scruffy than he used to be, but otherwise he is as sweet and playful as ever.

That’s Ruby in the background. She likes to be close to Clark though he is generally less enthusiastic about it.

This is Clark’s “fetching kitty” pose.

This is what it looked like here in Halifax on the night before Easter:

And it didn’t stop for several more hours. On Easter we made a snow bunny … Look at me, I’m making rabbit ears. Quick thinking eh! Notice that this rabbit has skis and ski poles, it is a real snow bunny.  

On a random note, I found this treasure today at one of my favourite antique stores. I love percolated coffee. I also happen to find this coffee pot pleasing to look at. It’s almost entirely made from glass. The bowl for putting coffee grounds in it glass, with an aluminum lid and aluminum bottom. There is a glass tube in the middle that supports the bowl for the grounds. Can’t wait to perk some coffee in it … I’ve been over the Bodum phenomenon for some time now. This will also be useful if I want to make Newfoundland /Nova Scotia style tea, which is boiled, bags in, on the stove.

For my birthday a couple of months ago, my handsome and handy boyfriend bought me a little MP3 player so I could listen to music while I run. Because I have been learning to run. Nothing so fancy as an iPod, and I would have resisted that anyway because it’s too trendy. But it was a nice little device for listening to music files and radio – Sansa something or other, 1 GB. But after a couple of months the thing crapped out, and online research showed us that this has been a common occurrence with the device. Some bug that has now been fixed.

We took it back to Future Shop and they were very accommodating about an exchange … in fact I upgraded somewhat to a Creative Zen V Plus. It’s 2GB. I am in love with it. I had a superficial reaction at first because it is so pretty … shiny black and green. But it also has the kind of features I wanted without being too expensive. And as a bonus, you can put your own background photos in it, and it looks sooo nice with a little photo of my glass buttons.

Zen V Plus

Well this photo doesn’t do it justice!

Tonight I ‘ran’ home from work, which means I ran and walked. Trying to run for 10 minutes at a time with 1 minute walk breaks in between, but I am still taking a few more walk breaks than that. But I did the 4km route and ran for more than half of it, probably a total of 23 minutes. For me that’s a lot! And the new little music machine made it so much more fun (the previous device wasn’t so reliable sometimes). I had created a special “RUN” playlist and the music that really motivated me to run was the hard stuff like Nomeansno, so I decided to add more. So I’ve just added some new songs from the following groups: more Nomeansno; The Leaving Trains; the Offspring; and the Partridge Family. A winning combination! (plus lots of other lively stuff on the ‘Run’ list.) And I am now looking forward to my next run in a couple of days.

All I need to do now is knit a nice little cosy for my new machine. After I finish the magnificent orange sweater I am making for my delightful 8-year-old niece, to her precise specifications. I’m making it from Cascade 220 Superwash; it’s a knee-length jacket-style cardigan. With custom glass buttons of course, from Vivero Glass!

Today I went out in my rubber boots, and it reminded me that one of the things I love about Halifax is that adults go out in public wearing rubber boots all the time, as a matter of course.

You see, last night we had a storm, the one that came with hours and hours of hyped up weather warnings. First snow, then freezing rain, followed by rain. On all the news casts, people had the annoying habit of acting surprised that we were having a complex, messy storm in Nova Scotia in March. I lit a candle, anticipating a power outage, but to my surprise that didn’t happen! Last night when I went to bed (actually it was well into this morning when I went to bed), this is what my bedroom window looked like.

That isn’t water, it’s ice. A solid thick coating of ice. I knew the window would be sealed shut, so I had to try just to prove it to myself. That was as exciting as it got.

Here’s a closer, rather impressionistic view.

When I got up later this morning, the world had that slick coating on everything, so I postponed my morning run (until tomorrow). I’ve had the great fortune of having two days in a row “off”, meaning I didn’t have to go to the store to work. I had lots of other work to do at home, including finish up one of my consulting contracts.

Still I love the rare feeling of not having to go anywhere for anything. Later on I ventured as far as the corner store for some essentials (milk, DVD). And rubber boots were just the right footwear. I think I like wearing the rubber boots because it reminds me of being a kid, exploring the swamp (er, wetland) beside our farmhouse. Plus when you are walking around the city streets wearing rubber boots, you are sending a strong message to the world that you possess the confidence to not care what people think about your footwear.

Of course, it is still possible to be consciously fashionable with your rubber boots, since many cute coloured or flowered boots are available. But I’m pleased with my tall brown rubber boots that I bought at a fishing supply store in Digby, Nova Scotia.

Quite a while ago, I had posted a note and a photo about a small shawl I was knitting for Gwladys, the 91-year-old blind woman I go read to once a week. Here are a couple of finished photos:

It’s made from a wool and angora blend that is hand-dyed here in Nova Scotia. It’s ridiculolus how soft and airy it is, yet warm. The pattern is an extremely simple lace pattern that I adapted from a stitch pattern in Barbara Walker’s treasury of stitch patterns (for the knitters out there) … I forget which volume. I found it to be a somewhat meditative project to work on, in part because of the beautiful feel of the yarn. Here is another shot that shows the pattern a little more clearly:

Gwladys spends most of her time in bed, with the exception of meals. So I intended that this would be just a nice cozy, comforting thing for her to wear around her room and in bed. When I brought it to her, she seemed very pleased. She isn’t that strong but she is very independent. She tied it around her neck and while we were talking she kept rubbing her chin into the soft angora fabric, with a little smile on her face.

Now a couple of weeks have gone by and I haven’t been allowed to visit, because the place she lives has been closed to visitors because of a virus. I hope I’ll get to see her soon because she is extremely frail, and I truly wonder if each visit might be the last time I see her. I don’t mean to sound morbid, that’s just a fact. Her memory isn’t that great so lately, I have been choosing sections of one of the books she wrote and reading those to her. They include descriptions of her childhood in Wales, and of her adventures as a military nurse in the second world war. She served in Northern Africa … with a slight detour on the way there because the ship she was being transported on was sunk by a U-boat in the mediterranean. Later she served in Italy, where she met her husband-to-be, a doctor from Nova Scotia. She gets such a kick out of hearing those stories again now, so I hope I’ll be able to see her later this week. And I get a kick out of seeing her enjoying it.

Welcome to this new version of my blog … for various reasons I’ve moved over to WordPress. It seems more user friendly in various ways. I had started my Vivero Glass blog here, and decided to move this one.

In honour of the move, I’m posting a mysterious old photo.happy holidays

This photo came from an album that belonged to my great-aunt Florence. I never knew her. She died when I was quite young, and I barely remember her. At my grandfather’s funeral, family gathered and went through a lot of old photo albums including Flo’s. I was in my early twenties then. I could guess that great-aunt Flo had a pretty adventurous life, based on the photos showing some interesting road trips. She didn’t live a traditional get-married-and-settle-down kind of life, which makes me wish I’d been able to know more about her. ‘Cause I can identify with that, but she was doing it when it was more unusual to be an independent kind of woman.

This photo is from Manitoba, the year 1958 according to the imprint on the photo. The spirit of Christmas?

After Grampa’s funeral, cousins and other relatives split up the photos, so I got a few interesting ones that make me wonder about the stories behind them. I found this one in the box of old stuff I found a while ago.

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