Zira's World Tour

Just a felted monkey diva blogging about her trip around the world.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Monday The Youngest Teen went off to Tel Aviv with Zira--and without her camera. When they got home, they sat down to do a little beading:

Boy is the Youngest Teen going to miss Zira when she heads off to Singapore at the end of the week!

Today I had to wind another hank of yarn for the Clap. When Zira the monkey diva saw the winder, she insisted on taking a spin.

Zira is winding up her Israel tour and getting ready to head over to Emy in Singapore.

Zira's looking forward to lolling around on knitted cushions, so get to work, Emy!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Friday the two youngest Teens took Zira to Tel Aviv, to the Nachlat Binyamin artists' market.

First, of course, Zira had to get ready to go to Tel Aviv (look, she's already cheating on Mickey, in bed with a

different stuffie!):

The diva always rides in style.

Once there she checked out the vendors' wares:

and then went shopping at that ultimate mitnachelet store, HaAyin HaShlishit (The Third Eye):

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang



Yesterday Indigo Muse warned me that Zira was nuthin' but trouble.

How true, how true. Today Zira and the Youngest Twin went to the range in Ariel. Man can that monkey handle a 9mm!



Next it's off to a Bnei Akiva staff meeting in Petach Tikvah.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Top O' the World


Crossposted to Mozemen's Blues


Zira arrived at our mail drop on Shabbat. When Shabbat was over we picked her up, and right away she started making friends.


Zira and The Youngest Teen's little friend Evan Z. Voice. Don't they make a cute couple?

Sunday we took her to a family barbeque, and then to the beach


Sunday night we took her for a ride on the Wonder Wheel, a historic ferris wheel. She loved the swinging car!


On Monday, Zira rode the subway



and went to the top of the Empire State building




Then she did a little shopping


All that exhausted the poor dear, so she stopped for a drink.


Later that afternoon, she and her new friend jetted off to Israel. She was a little nervous, but her friend reassured her.



Today Zira is in Jerusalem with the two younger Teens, but no pictures--I can trust them with either the camera or the monkey, but not both!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Zira arrived earlier last week at a hectic time. She was maybe going to see the President of the US! Wow! How many felted monkey’s can say that? Well, we tried to get her in, but she didn’t have a ticket. Also, the Secret Service was looking at her kind of funny. Rather than risk it, Zira wasn’t able to physically be at the event . She seemed pretty content reading about it though!!

Newspaper

Besides, she needed to rest up for Stitches! Too much shopping and learning and not enough time! She was packed safely into my bag with my camera, homework, wallet (!!!), and a snack or two. Yoda was jealous, she wanted to come with us, but I told her that doggies were not welcome at this event—only felted monkeys.

Ready

As soon as the Stephens Convention Center came into view she got all excited. She is one very focused monkey….focused on shopping!!!!

Stephens_1

Zira was a very naughty monkey when it came to enabling. She wanted me to go to the market instead of classes…

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First she tried to tempt me with discounted cashmere at the Fringe booth….

Cashmere

Then, she tried to get me to buy some alpaca…

Alpaca_wishes

There were many other books (oh, she knows my weakness for books), yarns, and fun stuff that Zira enticed me with. But this is all I came home with...

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Needle_felting

In the first shot we see some Alpaca and The Opinionated Knitter from the Yarn Barn, Silk and Mohair from Habu Textiles, and Shetland Tweed from Webs. In the other shot is a needle felting kit and some Merino Roving for needle felting.



Some close ups of the Alpaca, Silk, Mohair, and Shetland Wool.



Whew!! It was tough, but I stayed strong. Zira is one enabling little Monkey!



Then it was off to class. The first class we went to was Overcoming the fear of Cutting taught by Nancy Bush. I think I want to attempt a traditional Fair Isle sweater now--and cut it open for a cardigan! She loved Zira; can’t you tell….

Nancy_bush

Nancy said that Zira is like the traveling gnome and that if Zira needs some cool places to go, she could suggest some and knows some people that would love to take her in!



Saturday morning class was the Joy of Finishing taught by Chris Bylsma. This was the best class!!! I will now have beautifully finished garments!!



Chris also loved the monkey in pink….

Chris_bylsma

That morning, we also caught up with Bonne Marie of ChicKnit fame…

Bonne_marie
Bonne_zira

Bonne told me she loves monkeys and that a pattern for Zira like monkeys would be bought in a second by her! Hint, Hint!!



Zira also made some friends at the Windy City Knitting Guild booth…

Windy_city

And found someone that resembles a long lost cousin…

Cousins

Very distant cousin, she says!



Zira also experienced her first Chicago Rush Hour on the expressway. The picture really doesn’t do the amount of traffic justice. My favorite part was when the mini-van on the right gave me the finger when he cut me off. Gotta love Chicago drivers!!!

Rush_hour

We made it home safely!! Now Zira is relaxing the rest of the weekend while I finish up some projects!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Welcome to Zira's final post from Newfoundland.

While Zira was with me, I tried to show her a few things about food. One night we went out for fast food at my favourite place "Mary Brown's". I've seen at least a couple of these spots in Ontario but they aren't the same, at all. The best thing about Mary Brown's is the taters (with gravy, of course):

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I'm getting all drooly just thinking about them. When I was a kid, Mary Brown's slogan was "Mary Brown's got the best legs in town". I hear that one restaurant was going to offer extended hours and unthinkingly put "open 24 hours" under their main slogan. Not good, not good at all.

When I was young their mascot was a cartoon of a woman carrying a platter of fried chicken but a while back they changed it to a drawing of a more realistic woman who lookes JUST like my Grade 6 teacher. Freaky.

Other times Zira ate at home. Here is a favourite meal of mine, pea soup with dumplings:

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You may have had it elsewhere but I bet it isn't as tasty as in Newfoundland. We cook it with chunks of naval beef (salted beef that was suitable for sailors to take to sea because it wouldn't spoil). I could eat it till I burst!

Frankly, this next meal is not a fav of mine but it is pretty authentic Newfoundland cuisine so I will talk about it:

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Here we have (clockwise) corn, potato, pan fried cod filet in a crumb crust, fried cod tongues and capelin.

Yes, I said cod tongues. They are basically the flesh on the bottom jaw of the fish plus its tongue (a little gelatinous bit on the meat). For the most part, it tastes like the rest of the fish but the actual tongue has a texture that displeases me - call me crazy!

Capelin is another thing I can live without. They are small fish that roll onto the beaches in the province to spawn. As a kid I remember wading in the surf with a bucket, catching the little guys. You fry 'em up, skin, eyes and all and chow down. Some people pick out the bone or take the skin off or leave the heads but my dad eats every bit. He'll even eat leftovers cold from the fridge like (and I quote) "a candy bar". Gag!

Ok, sorry if I made you a bit queasy....I'm done with food.

We also took Zira for a walk on a nature trail that goes through the centre of Corner Brook. She stopped to see the tallest building in town:


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This was the tallest building I saw (all 10 stories of it) until I went to Montreal to visit DH when we were in university. It houses a lot of government offices and the public library.

On our nature walk, Zira decided to let loose:

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I couldn't resist.

I even got into a picture with her:

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Here we are standing in front of the Glynmill Inn, a nice hotel in town that used to be a residence for paper mill employees back when the mill first opened. The pond you see behind me is manmade and is used for the swimming portion of the Corner Brook Triathalon (on the World Cup circuit).

All too soon, our visit with Zira had to end. Our postal inspector gave her a check before she went:

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Then, she got back into her box:

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And got into my suitcase to be mailed off to Illinois from Ontario. It was fun Zira! See you at your next stop!

Ok, knitting. Remember a few posts ago, I told you that I went to "Aunt Maggie's Homespun"? Well, here's what I got (for $30):

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It's 100% wool. Eight skeins of "Red Heather", enough for an adult sweater. I'm thinking of getting the Rogue pattern and trying that (although I was imagining it in blue). I also got a skein of light grey and a skein of ragg, each has enough yardage for a pair of socks, a hat or mittens. Woo - hoo.

Here's a closeup of the yarn:

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I'd show you my caribou antler buttons but I haven't yet located them in the malestrom that is my luggage. I hope I didn't leave them in Newfoundland.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Today's Zira post will be about Canadian currency. Tomorrow we have traditional Newfoundland cuisine and a goodbye to the monkey....sniff.

I apologize to Canadian readers who know all about Canadian money. If you see any errors in my writings, please let me know in the comments!

Here is Zira looking at the money (she wanted to touch it but I told her no, I'm sure she'd go spend it on bananas or yarn or something):

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We are often teased (by American's mostly, I think) that our money is odd because it comes in different colours. Personally, I like having a little rainbow in my wallet (even if there is never any red or brown in my rainbow). Whenever I've visited the US I'm SCARED TO DEATH to buy anything because the bills are so hard to tell apart. Yes, yes, there is a wee number in the corners and a dead president in the centre but they are all green! How do you not shortchange yourselves at every turn?

Here are some specifics of our bills:

- Our money also has different dimensions from American cash. It is shorter from person to number (see photo above) but longer from top to bottom. This makes wallet purchase somewhat dicey, especially for men's wallets as there seems to be a little extra room in them but your money sort of peeks out of the top in a most displeasing manner.
- We used to have one and two dollar bills but they were phased out. I liked it when the dollar left, the two I sort of miss.
- Bill fronts all have a drawing of a different parliament building or part thereof and a portait of:
- $100: Robert Borden, eighth Prime Minister (1911-1920)
- $50: William Lyon MacKenzie King, tenth Prime Minister (1921 - 1930 and 1935 - 1948)
- $20: Queen Elizabeth II (her official title in Canada is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of
the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the
Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith)
- $10: John A. MacDonald, first Prime Minister (1867 - 1873 and 1878 - 1891)
- $5: Wilfred Laurier, seventh Prime Minister (1896 - 1911)
- We get a new minting of bills every once in a while. The last lot had native Canadian birds on the backs, the lot before that had what I think were different scenes of Canada on them (I remember a refinery or something on a ten and some logging thing on the one).
- The backs of current bills look like this:

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- Yup, that's hockey on the back of the five. Canadians realllly like hockey. However, I think many of my fellow Canadians were surprised at how little they missed the NHL when they went on strike. The ten is about rememberance and peacekeeping, twenty a scene about arts and culture, the fifty about "Nation Building" and the $100 about exploration and innovation (after yesterday's space adventure I wouldn't be surprised if they recall them all and replace that satellite with a picture of the Canada Arm). To be honest, I miss the birds, prettier bills by a lot.
- There are a lot of security features on the new Canadian bills but people seem hell bent on making fakes anyway. Many stores have signs stating that they don't accept fifty or hundred dollar bills.

Here are our coins (a little blurry...oops):

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- The Quarter, worth 25 cents, has a picture of a caribou on it (any Canadians out there remember the Canadian Sesame Street song about the quarter?).
- The one dollar coin or "Loonie" has a loon on it - it came out in 1987.
- The two dollar coin or "Toonie" has a polar bear on it - released in 1996. There was much national debate about what these dollar coins were to be called....I remember some two dollar coin ideas included "doubloon" (arrrgh, matey), "deuce" and "barely" (as it has the queen on one side with a bear behind....hardee, har, har) . In some of the really early ones, the centre could be popped out, especially if you laid it on a stove burner for a bit or froze it. No, I was never this bored...someone, somewhere was.
- The nickel (five cents) has a beaver on it (a proud and noble animal). I was about 8 when I realized this. Till then I thought it was half of saturn....I was an odd kid.
- The penny (one cent) has two maple leaves on it.
- The dime (ten cents) has the Bluenose on it. The bluenose was a cod-fishing boat and racing schooner, never beaten. Hurray!
- The bottom three coins in the photo above are specially minted coins. The middle one is a Victory Nickel and the one at the right is a dime honouring volunteers. The first one is a quarter from a series of past/present quarters released for the millenium (1999 and 2000). There have been lots of special coins over the last decade or so. We had a series of the provincial quarters, a toonie to commerate the addition of our third territory, a Veteran quarter with a red poppy on it (you could only get 'em at Tim Hortons I think), a Terry Fox loonie (national hero - young guy who lost a leg to cancer, ran partway across the country to raise money for cancer research before relapsing and dying), etcetera. My mother collects these like a mad woman.
- The queen is on the other side of them all....she is aging as the minting continues. Old coins have her with ribbons in her hair, then she's a nice young queen with a crown, then an older queen with a crown and now a matronly looking woman sans crown (life is cruel).

Our money is worth a bit less than American money. It is better than it was a few years ago. Getting things from the internet on mail order from the States can be deceptive and is oft avoided by me (though I long to place a knitpicks order). The prices seem great but between the exchange rates and shipping costs you feel violated when the bill arrives.

Was that dry? I was supposed to educate Zira and the blog about culture so I thought this was appropriate when I was taking photos. Now that I've spent all this time typing - I'm afraid I've bored each and every one of you to tears. More action and adventure tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I have painters coming to my house today and I will have to vacate the premesis so I think this Zira post will be a little shorter (probably to the relief of anyone reading). I know there isn't a lot of knitting in these posts. It's mostly about how much fun this wacky woman had with a felted monkey. But, I think there are some things to be learned about a different place on the planet if you'll bear with me. I promise we'll be back to my regular blog fodder before long (I miss Miss Monkey though).

Here we have Zira writing a postcard home:

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The postcard is of Bonne Bay (the bay where the Tablelands and Woody Point are). The Canucks among you will note that she's sitting with a cup of Tim Hortons coffee. Actually, I think this was a large half coffee half hot chocolate (I get in a sweet mood sometimes). We're ADDICTED to this crap. The coffee is ok but not spectacular and the donuts, well, they're donuts. Someone once told me they added MSG to the coffee. Would that make it addictive? I obviously don't care....I'm sipping one right now.

Canada, I hear, has the largest number of coffee shops per capita in the world. Corner Brook, where my parents live, has a population of about 22,000 people and we have 6 Tim Hortons (no apostrophy) in the municipality. When I lived in Kitchener, I could stand on the street corner and see the signs for 4 Tim's. We also have a lot of Second Cups, Starbucks, Timothy's and assorted independent shops. We're a friendly people cause we're always caffienated.

Tim Hortons is named after a hockey player - he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think that's why there are very few Hortons in Quebec....the Montreal Canadiens are the arch enemies of the Leafs and I think it would seem like a form of blasphemy for the Quebecois to frequent a spot founded by an evil, evil, Maple Leaf.

Anyway, enough about coffee....

Zira also drove through the Humber Valley (five minutes from Corner Brook) and saw the man in the mountain. Here's her photo from the dashboard of my mother-in-law's car:

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Here's a close up of the man (can you see him? He is looking down and to the right):

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Legend has it that the Spanish buried a treasure of gold on Shellbird Island in the Humber River and that the man in the mountain is a marker for that treasure. I don't buy into that one myself but it is still fun to see the old guy up there.

We stopped to gaze longingly at Marble Mountain, best downhill skiing east of the Rockies. I couldn't get a photo of the slopes (and they aren't any fun in the summer anyway) but here is a trail map:

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If you are at all interested in downhill skiing you should click on the link for Marble's Official Website.

Ok, gotta go. We'll see you soon (to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Canadian Currency). I have to get all of Zira's adventures posted before she arrives at her next locale in Illinois!