Saturday, November 30, 2013

Catching things up - Summer 2013

To celebrate the start of the summer, Steve and I organized a pot luck dinner with our close neighbours.  It was a smash-hit.  Good food, beautiful weather and even better people, it was so much fun.  Here's a look at some of the food.

Lobster tails and crab legs .... mmmmmmmm
There was chicken done 2 ways, and even BBQ ribs ... done 2 ways.  What a feast!

What a spread!
And the gardens bloomed!

Japanese Maple and Peony

Baby Plums
Sunshine Rose

and Sydney, Tucker and Alfie were there too.

At the end of June, the axe fell at work.  Layoffs.  Research lost ~25% of our staff.  I think that most of us were in shock when it happened ... and with texting, we all got a blow by blow report as our friends lost their jobs.  The very next day, the head of our division brought us all together.  We were no longer "Research", but now would be known as the "Technology Excellence Center" or TEC.  The cuts were deep, but it was done and we would be safe from future cuts.  We all breathed a little easier after that.  But in order to cut costs further, they planned on selling the building that I worked in ... the building where the pilot plant was located ... and the labs!  So for the rest of the summer we all worked to decommission the circuits and the equipment and prepared everything to be moved.  Some went to storage, and some was sent to our new location.  We packed up the labs and our offices ... and by the end of September we had moved everything, well mostly everything, and we were settling into the new labs.  I really hate moving!

The summer issue of Canadian Scrapbooker hit the stands, and I was pleased that my layout was selected as an "Editors Pick".  One of two ... and they sent me a nice prize!

It's out!
Meanwhile, at home my garden grew and grew.  I enlarged my butterfly garden and planted more butterfly bushes.  Funny thing ... only a few butterflies visited my yard, and I saw only a handful of honey bees.  But the garden was busy with bumblebees and hummingbirds!  Oh ... praying mantis too.

Really hard to see praying mantis

Bumblebee on a blazing star

Bumblebee on Honeycomb Butterfly Bush

Bumblebee on bi-colour Butterfly Bush

Hummer feeding from Purple Butterfly Bush

Another hummingbird

and another
Every Saturday morning Steve and I enjoyed our coffee out in the garden watching all the hummingbird action.  But I missed the butterflies ... I only saw 4 Monarchs all season.  They had a bad year in Mexico last winter, freezing temperatures killed millions of them.  So Jean and I devised a plan for next year.  We collected seeds from several milkweed species:  Common, Swamp and Tropical.  Next year we'll plant them everywhere!

We had plums all summer.  Our tree has 5 different grafts ... oh so juicy, the juice would spray out and down our chins.  Oh, just look at them!

And our veggie garden thrived, the plants heavy with fruit!


Tomato Patch

And because our summer pot luck went over so well, Jean planned a summer picnic ... right in our own back yards!

What a spread!

Games too!

Tossing Washers

Watching the game ... so serious!

Now Dora, that's cheating.

I just love my neighbours ... what a great place to live!  And to make the yards even better, I planted 4 new trees:  A beautiful little white spruce, a while pine that softly waves in the breeze, and 2 sugar maples.  I also planted 2 new gardens.  One under the huge cedars ... a woodland garden filled with hosta, astilbe, columbine, ferns, bleeding hearts and primulas.  Out front I planted a more formal garden with Japanese painted ferns, hibiscus, iris and autumn splendor ferns ... and I ordered a ton of bulbs from Vessey's:  tulips and daffodils and crocus and garlic!  This will be my "Year of the Garden"!

As the summer came to a close ... I began to plan some long overdue scrapbook pages, scrapbook season is almost here!

Catching things up - Spring 2013

Well it has been more than 6 months since my last post ... kinda sad really, I guess.  Truth is, I've been so very busy, and today I recovering from a bad, very bad cold and I thought ... no time like the present!

So I'll start with work ... my day job.  I always talk about how stressed-out I am, there is always something coming, something due and always rush, rush, rush.  This year started out the same way.  We had to get the pilot plant autoclave running ... and that autoclave had not been run in 6 years.  We put a team together, and I was the lead.  Thank goodness I had some good people to call upon, and we were able to put the circuit together and we ran the testwork without incident, on schedule.

And then, right after that finished we had to put together another circuit for some other rush job.  That work went off without a hitch, and ahead of schedule too!  And the whole time, the rumors circulated and grew and went around and around ... more layoffs were coming.

At home, I submitted several layouts for the summer issue of Canadian Scrapbooker, and one of them was selected for publication.  I was thrilled to be picked again!  So this is the layout ....

Whale Watching Adventure
I really love this layout.  This pictures were taken off the coast of Vancouver Island in the summer of 2008.  The whales were frisky, jumping, cartwheeling and breaching close to the boat!  And I got some amazing pictures.  I used a two page sketch by Allison Davis.

We were hit with a late season storm ... freezing rain!

Poor little bird - the seed is all frozen
And Steve and I prepared for the summer gardens, building new garden fences to replace the old rotten ones ... well they did last 10 years!  We had the potatoes and lettuces in the ground early, and our plum tree was absolutely covered in blooms!

Plum Blossoms

Preparing the garden

Lettuce and Carrots - Great new Garden Fence!

Potato Patch ... Nasty old garden fence works here.