• Got Bread?
    Got Bread?
  • The English Robin
    The English Robin
  • Afternoon Snooze
    Afternoon Snooze
  • Waterton Lakes Valley
    Waterton Lakes Valley
  • Magic Mushrooms
    Magic Mushrooms
  • Vino sulla Vite
    Vino sulla Vite
  • Fairy Stream
    Fairy Stream
  • Sunset Smoke
    Sunset Smoke
  • Om Nom Nom
    Om Nom Nom
  • Summer Lake Cabin
    Summer Lake Cabin
  • Stormy Mountain Sunset
    Stormy Mountain Sunset

Category: Book of Days

Book of Days is my blog. Website updates will appear here as well as other random ramblings.


Working

I have a lot on the go! Planning my wedding, spending time with my fiancee, getting the shop open, dealing with my day job, keeping up with crochet projects, editing photos, writing, gaming. Whew! It’s a lot and I’m behind on some things (most especially the temperature blanket but also the Myst series roleplay and the photoblog of my trip to New Zealand) but despite the struggles I’m currently facing, I’m still determined to forge ahead. Here are some updates on things I’ve been working on today:

Social Media Everywhere

  • Did you know that Incyanity has a Discord group? Yes, it’s true! You can join us using this invite link: https://discord.gg/kn2SF4W. The group is a positive creative community for everyone interested in art, gaming, photography, writing, and of course, yarn! I hope to see you there!
  • Lately I’ve been posting more frequently on Instagram. I also have an Incyanity-specific Twitter account (in addition to my personal Twitter) as well as an account on Pinterest and Tumblr. I’m still working out how I’ll use all of these accounts so for the moment there’s mostly just a lot of simple cross-posting going on, but going forward I hope to tailor each one for more specific content.

The Yarn is Coming

  • The store is in-progress! I can’t say for sure when it’ll be open, but my hope is to get it open as quickly as possible. I have some barriers to overcome first.

Sharing Happy News

Engagement announcement

About ten years ago, thanks to EVE Online, Mat and I met and became friends. Our first face-to-face meeting took place a short while later in Iceland at EVE Online’s Fanfest celebration. Since then, we’ve grown to be the best of friends—and in the last several years, even closer than that. So today, it’s with great excitement that we announce our engagement!

In the past we played the “game of life” individually. Now we’re looking forward to starting a co-operative game together!

Our wedding will be a private (parents only) ceremony in the Cumberland Forest on Vancouver Island at the end of May 2019. We hope to host a small gathering of friends and family in Alberta to celebrate our marriage shortly thereafter.


A New Venture: Incyanity Yarn!

Yarn in a dyebath.

Yarn in a dyebath.

I have a lot of interests: gaming, writing, art, reading, photography…lots of stuff. On Incyanity I explore them all, and recently it’s been pretty obvious that crochet has been at the top of my list. Crochet is a hobby I didn’t expect; it came out of nowhere at Christmas in 2015 and I’ve really taken to it since then, particularly with Pod Pals and other cute amigurumi. Something else happened too: I developed a love of pretty yarn. As I started to expand into making clothing, I left acrylic behind and began buying “real” yarn, either 100% merino, or merino blended with other fibers. I’m particularly fond of merino/silk and merino/tencel.

During my trip to New Zealand last month I had the privilege of visiting a farm where a very nice lady dyes yarn. All I really wanted was to treat myself to some locally-dyed yarn while I was in the country, but she happily told me why she got started doing it… As we talked, I started to feel wheels turning in my head.

The truth is, in the last two years I’ve bought a ridiculous amount of yarn. Yarn makes me happy. Another truth? Yarn in blends and colors I really love have not been that easy to find. The dyers I buy from come close…but not always close enough.

I thought to myself, What if I dyed yarn in colors I really love?

Then I thought, How many people out there are like me? Maybe they’re looking for the same yarn I am!

When I got home, I started researching. I read so much and watched so many videos about dyeing that I started to dream about it. The more I learned, the more excited I became. Maybe I really could do this. Maybe it could become a new career path! (I’m definitely ready for a new career path.) I talked to some people, I ordered some supplies…and then, last weekend, I was finally able to test it out for myself.


Tweaking

Incyanity has a lot of posts!

Incyanity has a lot of posts!

I’ve spent some time tweaking and organizing the site recently; sharp-eyed visitors probably noticed a few changes to the menu. Followers on Twitter have seen the “flashback” tweets popping up over the last couple of weeks as well. I found a handy plugin that automatically revives existing posts on a set schedule—a great way to get that older content seen and hopefully enjoyed by newer eyes.

Getting the reviver plugin going made me wonder just how often certain categories of posts would be seen, which led me to make the pie chart above. Turns out, almost 70% of all posts on Incyanity fall under Solitary Pilot, which is content related to my time playing EVE Online. There are just under 200 posts in that category. Wow! This means all the other posts have less than a one in three chance of being pulled up (and most of the HOTE category is protected so won’t be revived at all). Hmm! Guess I better get cracking on putting up more stuff!

Speaking of Heart of the Empire, some more tweaks have been made there too!


Culinary Adventures: Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

I’m not much of a red sauce person. If I’m at a restaurant and in the mood for pasta, and if there’s Alfredo on the menu, chances are I’m going to order that dish. If I buy frozen pasta meals to eat at home or take to work as a lunch, I’ll buy something that has Alfredo in it. Alfredo, Alfredo, Alfredo. In my book, it’s the king of cream sauces.

On occasion I’ve tried buying Alfredo sauce in a jar, or as a powder packet (just add milk!), as a slightly more economical choice as compared to premade frozen dinners. The problem I’ve had with the premade stuff is that while I like the sauce, the premade sauce doesn’t like me back. I end up being punished with food-induced issues for days after enjoying my one night of pasta bliss, which of course wrecks the whole thing. For whatever reason, I don’t tend to have those same issues when eating out or buying certain brands of frozen dinners—I’m not sure why (maybe the preservatives?). It’s always been disappointing though, because the frozen dinners never have quite enough pasta in them to satisfy me, and having all that extra waxy cardboard left over afterward doesn’t feel terribly environmentally friendly. Eating out all the time isn’t good either.

But I also hate cooking. The idea of making my own Alfredo sauce has always been intimidating, and as a matter of course I tend not to like to keep fresh milk or cream in the house because it will usually spoil before I can use it all. Additionally, I’ve sort of had it in my head that Alfredo sauce must surely be this magical, super complicated substance that only the most masterful of cooks can make. Master cook? Definitely not me!

Recently I had a craving for Alfredo, a strong one, so decided to bite the bullet and try making it myself, from scratch.


Custom Postcards: Unboxing Magic

Some of my custom Postcrossing postcards.

It’s been almost a month since I first joined Postcrossing. So far I’ve sent seven cards (two are still in transit to their destinations). The two cards I’ve received to date have come from Germany and Ireland:

My first received cards: from Germany (left) and Ireland.

My first received cards: from Germany (left) and Ireland.

I’m actually having a lot of fun! The card from Germany arrived first and was in my mailbox on a day when I’d come home from work feeling lousy. It was a great pick-me-up! There was a lovely note on the back which made me smile. But what really got me grinning today was receiving my shipment of custom postcards from MOO!


Postcrossing!

Postcrossing

Something I did as a kid was participate in pen pal programs. I’ve always loved getting mail and writing letters to someone far away was fun, especially when we decorated them with stickers or included postcards, photos, stories, and other mementos. Two pen pals in particular have stayed in my mind over the years: the first is Carly, a lovely writer and animal lover from eastern Canada who I now keep in touch with via Twitter. I still have all her letters and we killed many a tree sending each other copies of stories we were writing that would surely be incredibly embarrassing if anyone were to read them today.

Ikue Ozaki, c. 1993

Ikue Ozaki, c. 1993

The other pen pal was Ikue, a girl who lived in the Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku in Japan. I was in my pre-teen and early teen years when Ikue and I started writing to one another. She wrote the most incredible letters on very fancy, delicate paper, and adorned them with anime- and manga-style drawings (in ink! with no mistakes!). She taught me simple Japanese words and sent me an entire children’s magazine (which probably helped influence my later interest in anime) as well as numerous postcards of her country’s beautiful landscapes and many other adorable things. Sadly, when the Kobe earthquake happened in 1995 I never heard from her again, though I wrote to her several times for a couple of years afterward. Almost 6500 people were killed in that earthquake (roughly 1800 from outside the Kobe area) and I have always wondered if she was one of them or if her home was just destroyed to the point that her family moved with no forwarding address. Maybe it was just a coincidence. None of my letters were ever returned so I really have no idea what happened. It will probably be one of those life mysteries.


Quality of Life Improvements – Incyanity Updates

One of the things I love about WordPress is its flexibility. Since moving Incyanity off Joomla in October of 2015 I’ve continued to tweak the site here and there as the need arose, and in the meantime have been able to add new content on a fairly regular (for me) basis. The other thing I really love about WordPress over Joomla is its built-in RSS functionality: whereas Joomla very annoyingly did not have a combined RSS feed for all content regardless of its category, WordPress provides that by default (along with the ability to follow only specific categories or tags if a person so desires), making it very easy for readers to subscribe to the site. WordPress also makes it easy to update existing content and “republish” it simply by updating the published date of the article. I’ve done this a few times since posting the various Heart of the Empire compendium articles, as the creative process is ongoing and several updates have been made to them—and what better way to let readers know there is new content than to simply republish it?

One of the things I hate about RSS reader apps is, depending on the app in question, the updated article isn’t always fetched. Said article appears at the top of the RSS feed on the site based on its updated publish date, but some reader apps remain blind to that change…meaning certain people who follow my content will never know it’s been changed no matter how many times they check their app, unless they come to the site itself and see those updated articles on the landing page. This was aggravating to discover: I tried a few so-called “popular” RSS apps and a few of the highest-recommended ones didn’t show my republished content even after clearing the app cache or deleting and re-adding the feed. Other apps had no issues but weren’t as widely used, probably because they are poorly designed or don’t have as many features. Rawr.

One of the few things I miss about Joomla is its built-in ability to display the date an article was last modified. WordPress has the function but doesn’t seem to integrate it by default and none of the WordPress themes I’ve ever considered bothered to use it either. Bummer. Originally I didn’t care so much because I could just republish…until I discovered that some RSS apps are stupid about that. Full circle arg. What to do?


On the Go

As I start writing this entry I’m sitting on my balcony, rocking gently on my deck swing. It’s mid-morning on a Sunday and it will be a beautiful spring day, even though for the moment I have a blanket wrapped around me because the sun hasn’t quite come around the building far enough to warm up my deck. My neighborhood is quiet; other than a distant lawn mower and few cars going by there’s nothing to listen to except for chickadees, swallows, red wing blackbirds, and some other songbirds I don’t know the names of. It’s a clear day and I can see the Rockies stretching away to the south all the way to the Chain Lakes and then some. They still have quite a lot of snow on them. There’s a May tree growing off to the side just below my balcony that in a few years will be almost tall enough to touch. I like May trees; like lilacs and crab apples, the gentle fragrance of the flowers is one of the best parts of spring in Calgary.

This year I’ve taken to sitting on my balcony quite a lot on weekends when the weather is good (and even when it’s tolerably miserable). Life has been busy…maybe a little too busy…and these moments offer some peace and quiet that I feel I desperately need.


Camping Trips of Doom

Camping at a secret freebie place!

Camping is something my parents introduced me to when I was a child. We had a pickup truck with a slide-on camper (Mom and tents are NOPE), and during my school breaks we’d go to places like Two Jack, Waterton, Elkwater, or to secret places along the Old Man River and elsewhere. I’d go fishing with Dad, or hunt for pretty rocks (I should have been a geologist), and otherwise romp around in the wilderness. When we weren’t camping, I would sometimes sleep overnight in the camper while it was parked in the driveway, and later on when I started using a tent, I’d occasionally pitch that in the backyard and sleep there, because camping out is fun no matter where you do it. These days, I still go camping now and then, though not as often as I might like.

I have a lot of fond and amusing memories of past trips, like how it always seemed that the radio station out of Pincher Creek would play Wheel in the Sky, without exception, every time we turned along that last long stretch before arriving in Waterton. Or the time we camped on Crown land but I was too tired to get up to go fishing so Dad went without me, and I woke up later to find the camper surrounded by cows—I was maybe seven years old and freaked because a cow was blocking the door—so I blasted the radio and when I looked again, it was like the cows had evaporated. Totally gone, couldn’t find them anywhere. Didn’t imagine it though… Dad and I had to muck out the campsite when he came back, and we had a good laugh when I said the cows had been looking in the windows. Then there was the time I woke up in the back of the hatchback to find a horse’s butt resting against the window a few inches from my face, because apparently cars are great resting places for weary trail pony bums. (Couldn’t get out that time either.)

Not all trips have gone according to plan though.