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So This is Winter

Everyone I've talked to in Orlando is complaining about the recent cold weather. And who can blame them when you go from using the air conditioner one day because it is so hot and the next, it is freezing? No doubt, I'd be doing the same if  I were back home. Instead, here the winter weather, such as it is, means rain, and more rain.
After weeks of being in the 30's all day, it has warmed up a bit with the temperature hovering in the low 40's, both day and night. And although the days are incrementally getting longer, not by much. There is daylight, such as it is, for a mere eight hours a day. Of course we'll make up for it during the summer months, but that seems like a long ways away. With that in mind, we decided to un-decorate our Christmas tree, leaving it up for the cheerful lights. I'm calling it my "Whistler" tree these days.
The lights go on at 5:30 in the morning and stay that way until bedtime. Sort of like those seasonal disorder lights, only larger. :)

With the constant rainy days, for the most part, I've been staying in, doing domestic things. Being the cookie family that we are, I made more oatmeal cookies, now using my tried and true method of an upside down broiler pan as my cooling rack.
About mid-December, I decided that, although I do love my bird egg pajamas, after wearing them every single day for two months, a new pair might be nice. Purchasing the fabric, I put it aside until after Matt and Tom went back to London. In the interim I misplaced the buttons. How lost could they be around here? Well, after searching and searching, I walked to Dressew to find four new ones. Because the color is so different, I'd actually spent a fair amount of time picking out the first set so I wasn't wildly excited about doing it again, however, I had no choice.

It's funny how things work out though, because this time I found some I liked immediately and the price was right. The button card had a printed price of $8.00 for two buttons, probably because they are an unusual shape and texture. My kind of button, right? Well, Dressew, God bless them, charged only a loonie, which is the Canadian equivalent of a US dollar. Sold!
In other good news from that visit, I'd brought along a pattern for a knit dress that I'd been hoping to make. That's one thing that is making me crazy--having to wear pants all of the time due to the cold. If you know me at all, you will surely know that I am strictly a dress girl. Or, at least, most of the time. I like the simplicity of wearing a dress; nothing to match, slip it on and you are get to go. Laughing to myself just now as many of the colder days I've worn two shirts, sweater, leggings, pants, two pairs of socks, gloves, hat, and a coat. Not a shred of simplicity in all of that! Imagine what it must be like to dress for serious winter weather like they have in most of Canada?

Okay, back to Dressew--downstairs there was a sale going on with all of the fabric 50% off. The pattern called for double knit, and holy cow, did I find some double knit for $1.50/yard! Sturdy and somewhat thick, I bought some in both dark green and blue; the simple dress went together fast, which explains why clothing manufacturers use knit so often.
It would have gone together even faster had I not made a seriously stupid mistake while cutting it out. I won't bore you with the details, suffice it to say, I was able to recover, and wore the dress to church on Sunday. Comfy as can be. Of course it was raining when we went to church, and raining when we left church, but armed with our umbrellas, we did okay. Stopping at Joey on Burrard for lunch was my plan, having eaten a dish there when Matt and Tom were here, that I'd been craving ever since.
Arugula, daikon, crispy chicken, peanuts, and a peanut based dressing....heaven! From there we walked down Robson on our way to pick up a new water bowl for Baxter, crossing through Robson Square where most Sundays there is some sort of protest going on, and that day was no exception, in spite of the rain.
Saturday afternoon, we made another Wal Mart run, this time to one closer to us on the North Shore. Earlier, while Bruce was still at his office I was needlessly worried about the increasing fog, wondering how it would be on the Lions Gate bridge. Not horrible.
As we were putting the last of many bags in the back of the car to take home, Bruce asked me what time it was because it was pitch dark. Only 5:00 honey!

Matt's knitting spree for his Momma...
As I type, looking out the windows on the start of another grey day, I've got that pretty shawl over my shoulders to ward off the chill. Although I will say, the apartment stays super warm, no matter the outside temperature. In fact, the heat has only gone on once in the last month. Crazy, huh?

For probably four or more years, I'd been using a cute polka dot camera strap. Only a few weeks ago, I noticed that it was getting pretty darn grungy, and threw it out. Bummer! I had Bruce attach the Olympus blazed strap that came with my camera. Should you be wondering why I had Bruce do it, if you've ever put a camera strap on before, you'll understand. Anyway, the strap was stiff as a board, thick, scratchy, and just plain horrible. Sunday afternoon we found a few to choose from at London Drugs, but they were boring, and cost $40. Not for me. Instead why not try and make my own? It was super easy to remove the strap from the fake leather, but once I'd done that, Bruce had an idea on how to make it super sturdy. He's working on that concept below.
I used some leftover fabric from a skirt I made,
and it turned out to be very easy and looks cute too! The best parts though are that it folds easily to fit in my purse, and it is not scratchy on my neck. Overall, a big win.

Talking with my sister-in-law Judy yesterday, she explained the reason they spent a fortune on mailing us a package for Christmas. She was worried it would be hard for me being so far away. Cris thought of the gift which is one that will keep on giving--a digital photo frame that I filled with pretty pictures, as well as pictures of lots of you to remind me of home.
It's been a real joy to see your smiling faces slide by throughout my day. It must have been about 3:30 yesterday afternoon that I took the photo below,  unremarkable to you, but to me it was a welcome sight. Most of the fog had finally dissipated, and I could see the mountains once again. Plus, a break in the rain!
Meaning I could finally venture out comfortably to take a walk. Not a long walk, mind you, as darkness was merely an hour away, but I put on all of my cold gear, strolling along the seawall towards the Cambie Street bridge. Along the way, I saw something new, a seagull,  standing on all the rocks due to low tide, with something curious in his beak.
Unfortunately, I did not have my zoom lens, so it is not as dramatic as I'd like, but as a helpful fellow passing by explained to me, it is a starfish! Claiming it is a common sight around these parts, it is a first for me.

So, winter may be gray, rainy and chilly, but don't get me wrong, I'm merely describing how it is, rather than complaining. Or so, that's what I'm hoping to convey.

I signed up for it you know.

yours truly,

Gail
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