Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I have just done two things.

1) learned how to embed HTML gadgets into my blog

2) watched a documentary on coffee.

See, some friends of mine are getting a coffee roastery going, which is pretty darn exciting, and I love coffee. And when I'm interested in something, usually one of the first things I do is go to the library website and see what comes up when the topic of my whim is entered.

There were at least a dozen books about Starbucks, as you might imagine. None of them are authorized, as far as I can tell, but it is, I think, notable that coffee and Starbucks seem to be synonymous.

Now I admit, I do like Starbucks coffee. I am aware that they do not participate in the Fair Trade movement. My only excuse - no - I have two excuses. Starbucks has been, in my most recent past, convenient. My other is that, well, there aren't that many options for decent coffee around here.

Which is why the good people at Stellar Coffee are so exciting to have as friends. If I play my cards right, I get to be their unofficial dark roast taster. They have a great lineup of coffee coming, fairly traded, that supports the communities in which their coffee is produced. I'm not going to give away the story here, because it's not mine to give, but suffice it to say that now that I've watched this video Black Gold , I will feel a lot better knowing where my coffee comes from and that it was produced and procured in an ethical manner. This movie is available for free, runs 87 minutes, and can be watched online. If you drink coffee I encourage you to watch this film. You know I don't get political all that much, at least not here, but from now on I'll be making a point of buying African, wherever I can.

why social media is great

The family member I'm knitting an alien for will probably never read this so it's safe to tell you about the flying saucer/UFO colour dilemma.

Dan helped me with the design of it, but when it got to choosing a colour, I was sure I was going to make the flying saucer grey. Dan told me that 'red is traditional'.


According to whom?

People who reads science fiction novels, he says.

(I don't read science fiction novels)

So I put it to Twitter and Facebook and a few friends via text messaging. The results were a resounding 13 votes in favour of silver/grey, two for red, one for black, one for blue.

Then I did a Google image search - they were greens and reds and some had stripes. So I'm going to knit it grey with a red stripe. And it will be cool,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Random story about Korean culture

Insert random photo here:

Ha! I was fermenting this idea for a blog post earlier today, and wanted to put in some random photo from my Blog Fodder file, when I found this photo of the kimchi that Dan made earlier this fall.

What is kimchi? It is pickled fermented spicy vegetable, usually a kid of cabbage. There are literally thousands of kinds of kimchi and probably lots of kimchi festivals in Korea.

I lived in Korea from August 2002 to September 2003. It took me something like ten months to come around to liking the taste of kimchi. Then felt I had to make up for lost time. If you like meat and fish, then Korean is culinary heaven. I *loved* the food there. It's usually fast, cheap, and easy.

But this is not a story about kimchi.

I was listening to a podcast when something reminded me of the Hundred Days ceremony. I will explain it here as I understood it, and it is very confusing so please bear with me.

It is custom for a child not to be given a name until it has reached 100 days of life. This is because, before public health and child mortality improved, there was often a good chance that the child might not live and therefore not need a name. This probably also impacted the attachment parents and the family had with the child.

Side note: knowing what we know now from clinical psychology and the need of infants to be held and loved, this may have been rather damaging, no?

So when the child did reach 100 days, it was a big deal and there was some celebration. I think one of the Korean teachers I worked with had a baby that hit 100 days when I was there. This was eight years ago now, and my memory is fading.

So when is the child's birthday? Here's where it gets more confusing. At some point along the line, someone thought it was a good idea if all Koreans celebrated their birthday on the same day: the first day of the (Korean/Chinese) new year. So take me, for example. I was actually born on March 23. But the Chinese new year wasn't until the following January or February, so according to one tradition, I turned one before I turned one. That is to say, on that new year, I turned one, and on March 23, I turned one again. Or was it the other way around? No, I think it's right. So according to this system, I would be turning 38 in January (or whenever the new year begins, I'm never sure), when I'll actually be turning 37 in March.

I bet this makes paperwork in this country a bureaucratic nightmare.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Post 110: a taste of winter

Well I'll be darned.

I had no idea it could get this cold out here on the coast. I had heard from locals that it snowed once every four winters or so, but nobody said anything about the snow staying on the ground! Or that temperatures would remain below freezing for more than a day.

The snow began falling on Sunday but it cleared up by noon when the sun came out. They (as in 'They' who know Things) predicted lows around -6 degrees Celsius. I didn't believe it would happen. Denial, much?

Then it snowed again on Monday. I waited all afternoon for the temperature to increase and for the sun to come out but it didn't! In fact, I could barely keep the house warm because, it seems, it is not insulated for such frigid temperatures, even when the wood stove is going full steam. In fact, it was around -5 all day.

Back to the cold front, the freezing temperatures remain here. The tires on our truck are not so tready these days, so when I took a drive the other day, I chose a route that would not have me going up hills that are too steep. Even in wet conditions, the two hills near us cause me to spin out and consider shifting to 4WD to get past an intersection. I know, I know, we need winter tires. Can't afford 'em. Maybe Santa Clause will bring?

I just watched Miracle on 34th Street. I had long known this was a Christmas classic and was sure I had seen it, but I just watched (again?) now (the recent version, with Dylan McDermott), and wow they do a good job of making one believe in Santa. No wonder it's been a classic for 60 years.

I have been hoping to have the family here for Christmas, I think I mentioned. Dan said he'd mentioned it to family members, and then I did. An early response from a family member set me off into despair, for it seemed like no one would be interested and it would be really difficult to manage. But! But! I never used to get really excited about Christmas - my family didn't put a lot of effort into Christmas so I never realized what all the hoo-ha was about. When I met Dan and had Christmas with his family for the first time, I got it. It was so much fun! If the family doesn't come here for Christmas... I'm not sure we can make the drive for Victoria - partly because of the aforementioned tire issue, but also - we can't afford the gas! I'm only working about 6 hours a week right now and money is very tight.

So today I was given hope that it is possible, that most of the family is up for it and we're just waiting on word from the ones on the mainland. I had great fun thinking about how we would arrange the house to accommodate everyone, we currently have enough beds for 9 so we are short by one, we have enough towels, enough mugs, enough plates...

We also found out that we can get a local source of firewood for WAY cheaper than we paid for before. In the spring we paid something like $380 to have two cords of wood brought from Port Alberni. If we haul it ourselves, we can fill our truck for $65! That will last us about two months. I sure do love the wood stove. So does the kitty. She has been sleeping right next to it for the last two days.

Sorry for the long rambling post. I realize it's been a week or more since I wrote and was way overdue for a post!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do you have enough hours?

This is a frequently asked question around Ucluelet at this time of year. Why? Since much of the town is employed in the fishing industry one way or the other, everyone busts their butts all summer long (or as they say "all season long", meaning the summer/tourist/fishing season) to get their 910 hours to be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits.

For those not in Canada, what this means is when someone is laid off from work, if they have worked 910 hours in the last 12 months, they are eligible for income assistance that is a fraction of what they were making while employed, but (hopefully) enough to live on.

Most of the people around here who have been working at the fish plants have made more than enough hours to get their EI cheques. They are just waiting to get laid off.

Alas, I am not in the same boat. I have been looking for work, but since the jobs I've had all summer have been so casual and on-call, and since I haven't worked for paid employment in a few years (was doing my M.Sc. then was supported by my husband while looking for work), I am hundreds of hours short of being eligible for EI. This means I either have to take any job I can find here in Ucluelet (or Tofino, or Port Alberni) or see if we can manage on Dan's income. He is getting EI and has enough (but not too many) hours from fish job to survive.

It's going to be a tough winter, financially speaking. I have grandiose plans of selling my beautiful knitted pieces, but really, that is an unpredictable factor. I'm making stuff to sell, if it doesn't sell, they will be gifts. I'm even thinking about Etsy as a possible venue. I doubt that it could really represent an actual portion of our income but hey, every bit helps, right?

Lingon berries

More adventure. Can you stand it?

Our friends that were here for the weekend went home on Sunday. Before they left town, they and Dan went to Florencia Bay beach to walk around. While walking the trail that day, Dan noticed some little red berries by the trail. He came home, looked at The Book, and figured they

might be Lingon berries. He suggested we get up early this morning to go berry picking.

I'm not all that cheerful in the morning. I wouldn't say I'm grumpy but I would be a lot happier if I could get up in the morning and the house was already warm, breakfast and coffee made. Then I would be more 'in the mood' for adventuring at this hour.

Grump grump grump. Okay, yes, I was grumpy. And yet I am so interested in harvesting Non Forest Timber Products for preservation later (they're free!) that I agreed to it. Another part of our mission, though not completed, was to see if there was any sea glass on the beach worth scavenging.

See, we had a big storm last night. So big, that while I was working at the fish plant across the bay, the large plastic lid of a fish tote (the lid probably weighing about 20 lbs, 4'x4'x3") was kicked up by the wind and tossed 30 feet in the air before landing on the other side of the tally shack I was in. The lid hit the tally shack on the way with such force that the phone was knocked off the hook and I and the other tally gal shrieked. When I was walking out to sample fish, I had to hold the fish with one (gloved) hand so I could use my other hand to hold my hat on. I had to use muscles to steel myself against the wind so I could walk across the dock to the bathroom! We all expected the power to go out. (note to self: buy storm candles)

These kinds of storms happen all winter here, so the locals are used to it. Something that many locals to after such a storm is go to the beach to see what the ocean threw up last night. Sometimes it will be a crab trap or some other metal rig. Sometimes it will be glass buoys from Japan. Sometimes it will be bumpers from boats who were tossed around at sea. Really you just never know. That's why it's so much fun to go to the beach afterwords to explore. This is the beach at Incinerator Rock, taken this morning. This is the north end of Long Beach, and as I was driving back from teaching the girls this morning, I felt compelled to stop and walk around for a bit.

This last photo is of Dan and the sablefish trap we found after one of the storms last month. It was half buried in sand & surf when we retrieved it, so it took a bit of digging and getting wet to get it out. The thing weighs about 200 pounds so we rolled it back from halfway down Long Beach to the parking lot!

Right, back to the Lingon berries. We never did get to the beach this morning before I had to go - but we did get a good amount of berries. They each have two large seeds in them. They are currently on the stove, having been simmered down. We'll strain out the seeds (for planting later!) and we might get one jar of jam out of them.

An interesting thing about these plants: they seem to just grow out of stalks in the ground with no foliage. The stalks are between eight and 12 inches long. They are almost always near salal or deer ferns and you will only find them in low fertility soil next to water. We might go searching for more in other similar areas.

I just want to be warm

Have I said this before?

Our house is heated by a wood stove. Earlier in the year, we had two cords of firewood delivered, which we dutifully stacked and then covered in the back yard.

We haven't had a proper chopping block, so when we did chop wood for kindling, it would be inside, just before one of us wanted to light the fire. And sometimes, if we were lazy, the fire wouldn't get lit. Or sometimes we would go through rather a lot of paper and cardboard to get those logs going.

When carrying in armfuls of splinter-causing firewood grew very tedious, Dan had this brilliant idea to use those oversized IKEA shopping bags for firewood. They are perfect! Just the right width and when full, are just the right weight to be characterized as 'exercise' when we haul it in.

On our way to Virgin Falls the other day, Dan spotted a few large round chunks of tree laying in the logging debris. He said "on the way back I want to pick that up and use it as a chopping block". So I marked it as a Waypoint on our GPS so we would know when we were approaching it on our way back. Those GPS functions sure are nice! It took all four of us to lift this thing into the back of our truck but we got it.

Now Dan can get his daily exercise by chopping kindling, and I will be warm. Win! Win!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Ten Hour Duck

12:00pm Duck comes out of the fridge. Dan instructs Burgle on how to prep the duck for later smoking and then roasting. The duck gets washed and scrubbed down. Then coarse salt gets rubbed and stuck into crevices. Duck gets strung up (with knitting cotton!) and hung inside the smoker while we were out. The smoker wasn't on, but the duck was hanging there to dry.

5:30pm Smoker gets turned on

8:00pm Duck smoking is finished. Dan seasoned it (should have rinsed it before it was smoked) & stuffed it in the oven on my lasagna dish. Dan says he should have also pricked the skin so the fat had a place to roll out.

9:45pm Duck came out of the oven. Now at this point I must mention there was a haze inside the entire house because of all the smoke coming from the oven. Burning fat? The smell wasn't that bad, it smelled like bacon, but boy do I hate the smell of burning in the house.

Meanwhile I was playing dominoes with Peter & Burgle. Kicking their butts, actually. Hm.

10:00 Dinner is finally served. Alongside the duck was the wild rosehip sauce as well as a salal berry sauce (salal juice from berries we gathered in August), steamed jasmine rice, steamed baby bok choi.

I have had duck exactly twice before and didn't like it either time. Living with a foodie, however, I must try something 'prepared right' in order to correctly judge whether I do, in fact, dislike something. Well, to no avail. Even if this was very well prepared duck, I couldn't handle the taste nor the texture and I will hopefully never eat it again. Dan has threatened to sneak it into a dish later on but boy-o-boy I know I will notice. It's one of those awful cloying tastes you just have to get out of your mouth as quickly as possible.

Not only that, the smell of smoke (i.e. burning grease) wafted upstairs and settled on our bedding. You can imagine my, um, displeasure, when I climbed into bed and was smacked with yet another reminder of that awful dinner I couldn't eat. (I did eat the rice & bok choy, of course).

Luckily, I had made my mum's Chocolate Cake recipe and that really saved the meal for me. Some of the Irish Cream that went into the earlier hot chocolate also made its way into the icing for the cake. YUM. Just saying.

Virgin Falls

(This bit of pink ribbon says "Virgin Falls Trail" on it)

We found it!

Dan and I in our truck, our friends in their truck, we drove out west and then north in search of the fabled Virgin Falls. It's a place we wanted to get to in the summer but just never seemed to have the time. This time, with two vehicles, two Backroad Mapbooks, and a GPS, we wended our way.

It was pretty good for the first half of the way. Gravel roads, full of potholes after the rain, me hanging on to the handle. No, I didn't bring my knitting. I wanted to but I knew one hand would be hanging on for dear life.

(Usually when we drive these roads I put on a sports bra, knowing the girls would get all knocked around.

There were some pretty steep roads, some of them with evidence of water drainage in the middle of them (what with our rains and all), so we were glad we had our four wheel drive vehicles. We wouldn't have been able to make it up otherwise.

So according to the GPS and the map, we were close to the area where Virgin falls was supposed to be. Dan heard the falls. Then we crossed the bridge over the stream where we first saw the falls.

For some reason, we half expected for there to be a warren of hiking trails around the Falls. But nope! There was an almost four-minute trail from the road to the falls.

It was cold up there! And it was amazing how much wind the falling of the water generated. It's hard to tell in pictures just how big this waterfall is, but I will tell you it was about 200m. Maybe more? Again, hard to gauge.

Dan has made us all some fish tacos before leaving, so once we poked around the area and took our photos, we all dug into them. There was also some sweet chili sauce!

After some riotous conversation, although none of us wanted to leave, we realized we had to because it was getting late in the day and we didn't want to be driving logging roads in the dark.

It was kind of cold so I suggested that when we get back we have some hot chocolate. Burgle thought Bailey's Irish Cream would be a good addition. They headed straight for the liquor store and we got the fire going again. There was a cake to be baked, a duck to be smoked and then roasted.

Augh......the Ten Hour Duck. I think I'll save that for another time. Meanwhile, in case you think I am pregnant with pointy things in this photo, I'll have you know that I have binoculars and a water bottle in my jacket pockets!

unplanned harvest

Now I know that any time we go into the bush in search of adventure, we must be prepared to do some harvesting and/or scavenging. The other day when we had our friends from Victoria visiting, we decided to take the drive up to Virgin Falls to see what everyone was talking about.

Dan figured it would take about 2 hours to drive up. We were making good time though, and didn't need 4WD yet, so we took a brief detour to Second Bridge (bottom of Kennedy Lake) to show our friends the place where we go fishing, where we found our tin boat, where we might go camping one day.

While we were there, these bright red bulbs on the bushes announced they were ready to be harvested. O no!, said I, I brought no bucket or vessel to gather food with! Luckily Burgle did, she had a small bucket in the back of their truck. With the four of us gathering, we filled this 2L bucket in about ten minutes.

This was the day of the Ten Hour Duck, so the plan for these rosehips was to use them as a sauce for the duck. This amount of fruit yielded about 700mL of liquid. It was a bit on the tart/astringent side, and Dan didn't sweeten it much, but it was nice. Probably good on vanilla ice cream.

In case you are wondering, the first thing you have to do with rosehips is snip the flowery bits off the end. then you slice them in half lengthwise, then pick out the seeds. This is a very long process but worth the effort, especially if you have friends helping you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

brief update

Whooh! so many photos and stories... I don't have time right now but there has been a great deal of adventure for us this weekend. We had friends from Victoria come up for three nights and we packed a lot in to an otherwise relaxing weekend. We found Virgin Falls! Had dinner at Fetch at Black Rock. There was the ten-hour duck dinner, the game of dominoes, the Irish Cream and blueberry wine, chocolate cake and fish tacos. Decadence all around!

Public Service Announcement: if you ever buy a used vehicle, spend the $60 and do a lien search. You don't want to get into an accident (caused by someone else) and find out later that the vehicle you just wrote off has three liens on it totaling more than twice what the vehicle was worth...

Monday, November 8, 2010

beaded bags

I had this great idea to knit a bunch of stuff and then offer it up for sale. If they sell, great, I have money in my pocket. If not, then I can give them as Christmas gifts. Here are some examples:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

cabin fever in a remote community

The sun goes on vacation, the tourists go home, the fish are fished out of the water. Half the town of Ucluelet shuts down for the winter. Seriously - Fishful Thinking, the only place to buy fresh fish, closes its doors until May. The Driftwood restaurant is closed until February. Jiggers, the fish & chips truck, is open when they can be, when they have fish, but even they are hit and miss. They don't have regularly posted hours so you can't count on them being there. The Green House Market is closed until sometime in the spring (alas, no sushi!).

This is such a small town. Everyone says 1500 people, but I wonder how much there really are. In the Pacific Rim area, there are something like 6,000 First Nations peoples, and many of them come into Ucluelet to do their shopping (the rest go to Tofino, I imagine). We have one grocery store, one bank, one credit union, two gas stations, a hardware store, two pharmacies.

In the winter, I'm told, people stay indoors. Lots of people live in their pajamas and don their rain gear when they go anywhere because of the torrential rains. A couple of fearless friends defiantly cycle everywhere through the winter, and they have the dry-bag backpacks to prove it. I will need new rubber boots, as after a season of my fish job, they both have cracks just above the heel. Did you know it is impossible to find industrial gum boots in pink?

Our only outlet to the world is to drive to Port Alberni or beyond. Normally this is a one-hour drive. There is a mountain pass in between, with its associated elevation and winter snow. That means winter tires are required. We don't have winter tires. In fact, our current tires are going bald, and that is very treacherous in wet conditions. We can't afford winter tires at the moment, so we are, in some ways, stranded out here on the west coast.

Now luckily I'm a knitter, and winter conditions like rain and cold are not at all offputting to someone like me. I am perfectly happy to stay indoors, next to the fire, knitting away. Also, as a former Pagan, I am mindful of the changing of the seasons, the holidays, the wheel of the year. In a few weeks, the Oyster Festival happens in Tofino. I'm not fond of oysters (ew! slime!) but will go to the Mermaid's Ball for the cultural experience and for the excuse to dress up for a party. Then Christmas is coming. I don't know if we can convince the family to spend Christmas here (I hope so, we have such a good space for it!), but I will totally enjoy decorating the house on a very small budget.

Then comes the new year. We don't know what 2011 holds for us but we do have a Plan. I'm not at liberty to divulge details of this Plan yet, but if we are successful it will mean not depending on a tourist season for income.

Also, being a knitter, January will likely be spent knitting for Valentine's Day, then St. Patrick's Day, then a sock marathon in preparation for the Knits by the Sea retreat in April, where Cookie A will come and share her genius with us.

By then our Plan will be in full swing, and I will hopefully maybe not be counting fish anymore. I will hopefully still be teaching knitting.

So I'm not at all sad or unprepared for the coming darkness of winter. I would really love it if I could spend some money on getting the garden going in the back yard. I would really love it if we had some visitors from other parts of the Island or Vancouver.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dia de Los Muertos: the day of car accidents

In case you didn't know, yesterday was the Mexican Day of the Dead. It's the day where they celebrate all the ancestors and loved ones that have gone to the other side. I can't do it justice here, so really, look it up. It's way cool.

On my way to Tofino yesterday, I drove past the junction that links us to the rest of the world. There were quite a few cars pulled over and a man wrapped up in blanket, laying on the road. There were about six people around him. I didn't realize at the time but this was minutes after a terrible accident. The man was drunk and going way too fast around the corner, lost control, and pretty much felled a power pole. (I was going to stop to take a photo on the way back but felt that might be rude). It was 9:30am and when I went by the first time, emergency vehicles hadn't arrived yet.

On my way back, police cars were there, the man was probably taken away by ambulance (haven't heard yet if he lived). I hadn't seen the smushed car or the power pole when I went by the first time but this time it was WOW. How much impact do you need to push your car through and almost break a log that is 18" in diameter? Enough impact to push the front bumper of your car four feet to where the steering wheel is. I'm not really good with my car ID but it seemed like it was an 80s Buick. The era before airbags. It will be a miracle if this man lives.

The power, then, was out until 5:30 yesterday. Shortly after the power came back on, I got a call from my sister. She too had been in a serious car accident.

My almost 6-year-old niece was with her grandma, and my 3-year-old nephew was supposed to be with his mom but wanted to go with his dad instead. My sister was alone, thank the heavens. She was doing about 80 km/h on the highway when another vehicle pulled out in front of her without looking. All she remembers is saying "Oh Shit" and then the next thing she remembered is the smell of the air bags. I guess that smell made her get out of her Durango because she was worried about fire or something. She took herself to the ditch and was down on all fours, realizing that she was badly bruised.

The fellow that pulled out in front of her also was not badly damaged, though both vehicles were write-offs, he came back to see if she was okay. She was not, obviously, he gave her a hug. That was, in her words, exactly what she needed.

She was taken to the hospital (not clear on how she got there but presumably by ambulance) and checked out. Nothing broken, just bruising. Bruising on her face, her chest, her knees. The seat belt and air bag saved her life. I can't tell you how glad I am that I didn't lose my sister yesterday.

When she called, I believe she was still in shock, because she said she didn't feel that bad. I warned her that on day 2 or 3 the bruising will really settle in and she won't really be able to move, let alone go back to work (she's a dental assistant). I hope she will not be stubborn and accept any help that is offered to her. I hope she takes care of herself and doesn't try to do too much. All I can do, as the big sister, is advise from a distance. She was just so glad that her son made a big fuss about wanting to go with dad instead of mom yesterday morning.

Monday, November 1, 2010

my very exciting day

Okay so you didn't like the slimy brown shark. I get that. Let me tell you about my day which was 0-so-interesting.

You could say it began at about 6am when Dan was coughing so hard he got up and went downstairs. At some point later, I fell back asleep. Woke up again when he came back to bed. Then for some reason my stupid alarm went off at 9am. For no reason. I guess it was time to get up.

Laced throughout my day was more iPhone gaming than I'd really like to admit to. They make them addictive and fun and free and gosh I just can't help myself (and am aware of that grammatically incorrect run on sentence. I blame it on the games.)

O no! We were out of orange juice. My entire daily routine was disrupted. I had start with coffee instead. Not so bad, really.

We had leftovers from last night. Friends brought home made butter tarts as their contribution to the Halloween event. We had one trick-or-treater. Lots of leftover candy... Also, last night, I tried my hand at making spinach and feta pies with phyllo pastry. Wow! It was so easy and fun! I will totally do that again. It was a big hit.

So garlicy spinach and feta pies with butter tarts for breakfast. Being a grownup is great.

Also, last night, I started knitting the picot edging for a beaded bag. Said bag was finished today, in spurts, as I was doing laundry and working on making Christmas tree decorations.

I'm planning a blog post about those, but suffice it to say the instructions were deceptive, and aluminum foil should stay in the kitchen. Just saying.

The power went out for about 2.5 seconds today and that somehow fried the hard drive on our main computer. Dan has spent much of today figuring this out. Luckily, we have two laptops and two iPhones in the house, so we have rather a lot of connectivity. It's kind of embarrassing, really.

I have started doing yoga again, in earnest. Even though there are tons of great places to go walking and hiking around here, sometimes I don't want to leave the house. We have LOTS of floor space on which to do yoga, so I have been following along with a few podcasts. They are easing me into a full practice. Once I'm up to speed, I'll be doing at least an hour of yoga every day. I am concerned about my weight (aren't we all) but also my heart. I've been having pain in my chest lately and I don't want to be one of those people who was 'so young to have a heart attack'.

I can't tell you how lovely it is to have a wood stove going and to have warm dry heat in this house. When we first moved in, we didn't have a stick of firewood and all the 'free' wood that was around was absolutely drenched. This is a rather large house and to be in a large cold house is very unpleasant.

Did I mention I am completely blond now? I started dyeing streaks in June, and then a bit more in August, and now I went whole head. I really like it. I feel so much younger! But different colours work on me now. Pinks and reds - not so good. I need to start wearing more greens and blues.

I know, totally random stream-of-consciousness post, won't win any awards. But hey, it's a window into my day! Now to roll up the yoga mat, brush my teeth, check my Pocket Frogs, and start reading Anil's Ghost. It's the Michael Ondaatje novel I have read every November since it was released.

Monday: a random photo

Can I post something every day? In case I get nothing else done here today, here is something to look at:

It's a shark of some kind. Dan could tell you its latin name, its habitat, age at sexual maturity, etc. Six months in the fish job and this was the first one I'd seen. Not sure how old it was, but it was about 60cm long. Came up in a trawl net.