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Monday, December 31, 2007

No, you're not crazy - you really are hearing "The Lonely Goatherd"

I am not really a particularly superstitious person, but I do believe that intention and self-fulfilling prophecy go a long way. To that end, I try to spend New Year's Day in such a way as to set the tone for the next year. Which means that I don't want to spend it cooking and cleaning, or in a messy house! So Mr.Q & I spent the better part of this morning tidying up and sorting out (his!) piles. I picked up some croissants for breakfast tomorrow, and took some chicken out of the freezer - we're going to sleep in, have a tasty breakfast, go for a walk if the weather permits, and generally spend the day relaxing and enjoying ourselves the best we can.

Upon completing my share of the chores, I went out to meet some gal pals for a knit-up at The Laughing Bean. I had the last eggnog latte of the season...sigh! It was very tasty. We were talking about all kinds of interesting things - New Year's Eve plans, music, yarn, knitting retreats, wine, chocolate, whether the end of the thumb on my newly-completed mitten looks like a nipple or not...when I heard the strangest thing over the cafe's stereo.

Yodelling. More specifically, the yodelling bits from "The Lonely Goatherd" puppet show sequence in The Sound of Music. I was confused...this was a pop song of sorts, was I really hearing what I thought I was hearing? Yes, my musical companions said, I was really hearing what I thought I was hearing. No, I was not going crazy. (Though maybe it would be better if I were!) Apparently it was a Gwen Stefani song which includes a sample from The Lonely Goatherd.

Shows you just how into pop culture and contemporary music I am! I got the Sound of Music right off, but hadn't a clue about the Gwen Stefani part of the song. And you know what? I'm OK with that. I like The Sound of Music, and am much more likely (and would prefer!) to be caught singing Do-Re-Mi out loud on the bus, than anything by Ms. Stefani.

Now that I've exposed (and revelled in!) my unhipness - I'm going to go get ready for my hopping New Year's Eve....card games at a friend's house. Whoop whoop!

Wherever y'all are tonight, and whatever you get up to - here's hoping it's with good people, and everyone gets home safe. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

TGFGTO, and such

Thank Goodness For Greek Take-Out!

Seems I've had an overwhelming need to hibernate the last few days, and I'm rather grateful that I've been able to indulge. I've mostly been reading, definitely not cooking, and am glad there's a reasonable Greek restaurant in the neighbourhood!

Not much going on - planning for a pretty mellow New Year's Eve, I think. Mr.Q is playing a testosterone-y gig in a bar that I'm not fond of, so we won't be spending the evening together. Nothing new! Something I learned early on about life with a musician - no date for New Year's!

However, I felt I had to post today, even just briefly...It being my One Year Blogiversary, I kind of figured I should acknowledge it. I'm going to have a celebratory glass of eggnog (sans rum; there's been enough of that the past month, and I'll save it for tomorrow!) and maybe make cookies for Mr.Q, who's been awfully sweet today, dancing attendance and doing the dishes while I laze about.

Happy New Year's Eve Eve!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A little goes a long way...

Today, I actually got my arse out of my PJs, into civvie clothes, and out of the house! I'd love to say it was because I felt an overwhelming need for fresh air and exercise...but the truth is, I had finished the piles of books borrowed from Jel, and can't get the next in the series till she gets back into town. Sometime today or tomorrow, I hope!


Meanwhile, I had to do some banking (evil, evil student loans!) and figured that while I was at it, I'd take Floppity around to a few downtown sightseeing locales. We went to Canada Place and did photos of the docks and the harbour. We went to Gastown and did photos in front of the Steam Clock and Gassy Jack. But the most important thing we did was pay homage to one Vancouver's sacred institutions:



The Coffee Shop. I figured I'd go to the best, Caffe Artigiano...where I had a "Spanish Latte" - a latte lightly sweetened with condensed milk. Mmmmm!

(Let me tell you, there is nothing like taking pictures of a Beanie Bunny, right downtown, to help you get over any self-consciousness you might have about what other people might think of you. Especially if you're setting the Beanie Bunny up on a glove on a parking meter so it doesn't get wet - and saying as much to the rabbit. I'm afraid that part was in my outside voice. Ooops!)

Then I just came home, a two-hour outing being quite strenuous enough for my first expedition in days. It was cold and ucky, so I made a huge vat of seriously kick-ass black bean soup. We had that and veggie burgers for dinner.

Mr.Q thought he'd try one of the goodies he got in his stocking; "Santa" gave him a variety of hot sauces and condiments. He spooned some Swazi Fire Chilli Sauce onto his burger. A few seconds later, I heard a really strange squeaky sort of moan from across the table. I looked up and saw this:


Now, it looked to me like he was in pain. I asked him if he was okay, and he nodded and squeaked again. "How's the chili sauce?" I asked him. His response:


It's an hour since, and his eyes are still bugging out. But he swears he loves the stuff. He's weird.

(Dude! I think Jel just signed into MSN...more books! Also, it's good to know they didn't fall into a lake and drown or anything. But I'll leave that part of the story up to her!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

We wish ewe a merry knitmas!

While I'm waiting for the coffee to brew, so I can make some Mexican hot-chocolate for breakfast, I thought I'd share a couple photos of some of the Trinity Street Christmas lights...there's a street that's about 10 blocks long in our neighbourhood, and every year, most of the houses put up lights. You can buy a ballot and vote for the best house, and the proceeds go to a neighbourhood daycare centre. These were two that I liked the best; the first for the whimsical strings of snowflakes and icicles strung above the cones:

And the second, for illustrating West Coast ingenuity. No snow for a white Christmas?

No problem! Use quilt batting! Yards and yards of it! At night, after a little rain and a little wine, it's startlingly effective!

Merry merry to you and yours. However and with whomever you celebrate, I wish you light and whimsy and joy!

Monday, December 24, 2007

90 Minutes of my life that I'll never get back

Tonight, after being badgered for days, I finally gave in and said yes, I would watch a movie that Mr.Q has wanted to see for some time. I wish I hadn't. Do any of us really need to see a 25-year-old cheesy sci-fi movie, starring a shrill, pre-16-Candles Molly Ringwald? (Trust me, you don't!)

Honestly. I could have been doing something so much better with my time. Like vacuuming, or having that dental work I've been putting off. Or playing in traffic. Oy!

I did get a fair bit done on a mitten, though. I had the shocking realization that I have nothing really warm for my hands. Shocking! A knitter, with no mittens at all! Not even store-bought ones. So I decided to remedy that. I've got some fun yarn (Noro something-or-other) and am making good progress.

Especially considering that I've never knit mitts, and I don't feel like trying to find/decipher a pattern. I figure I should know enough by now about the basics of knitting that I can wing a pair of mitts. I'm having great fun at the moment! It's kind of liberating, really. Though we'll see if it's that much fun when I try to figure out how to get the thumb & cables to line up on the opposite hand.

I'm feeling kind of rebellious, actually. Damn it all, I'm going to knit by my rules! Neener neener!

(I'm also noticing a distracting tendency to want to put a "K" in front of all words beginning with the letter "N". (Knoticing my Knew Kneedles....) I wonder what that's all about.)

Meanwhile, I've been hosting a Beanie Bunny. Which anybody who knows me knows is weird - I am so not a stuffed animal kind of gal! However, Floppity isn't just any stuffed animal; she's kind of an easier-to-mail version of those travelling garden gnomes. Though she hasn't been kidnapped, but sent all over the place since she left her home in Germany. She got here from Arizona just in time to enjoy our green Christmas, before I send her off to Quebec. Today was wonderfully & unexpectedly sunny, so we took her out to see our neighbourhood. First, though, we did a pic in front of our wee tree:


Then a little tree-climbing:


And to see the mountains & Burrard Inlet, and the port:



I'm not sure if it was the rich sea air that caught up with her, or too much rum & eggnog, but she was a little unbalanced by the end of our excursion, letting her ears all hang out:
I certainly hope she behaves at Christmas dinner tomorrow! Speaking of which...is it time for bed yet? How soon will it be tomorrow? Mr.Q won't let me open my stocking yet. Also, he keeps asking if I want my present now, and when I'm just about to say yes, he tells me too bad, I have to wait. Stinker! I'm going to wake him up super-early.
We still don't have a Christmas worm. I'm a little worried about that. It's just not Christmas without one! I picked up some origami paper yesterday. Does anybody know how to do an origami worm?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chipmunks roasting on an open fire....

I've come up with (or been handed) a few great titles for posts over the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I remember none of them - I'm going to have to start writing them down as they occur! And even if I could remember one (or more), it's not like I've had much to write about. (I mean really, how much do you care about the correct use of the present perfect passive vs. the present progressive passive? Now, don't sound so excited all at once!)

I started the round of holiday celebrating last Friday, with our school Christmas party. For some reason, the powers-that-be think it's a good idea for our (adult!) students to get a taste of that strange entity, the Christmas Concert.

Which leads to such oddities as a class full of "Elvises" with blue construction-paper sideburns, or Frosty the Snowman doing a pole dance...or, as with my class, a choreographed dance to an ABBA cover band's version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. For the record, they decided to dance instead of sing, and they worked the whole thing out themselves. I came back from a coffee break one morning, to find they'd broken the song down into verses and instrumental breaks on the whiteboard. Further, in a very fine display of stickman art, they had illustrated the routine they'd worked out. I let them run with it, and they had a blast. They also gave the best performance of the school. Not that I'm biased!

We're having an abbreviated class tomorrow, and then a wee classroom party. In the interest of immersing them completely in a Canadian Christmas Experience (minus the snow!) I'm going to show them The Grinch. And I've spent a good chunk of time tonight putting together little containers of seasonal baking for them.

I'd originally thought I'd just use some of the festive cello bags I had left from last year....but our unit this week involved a lot of discussion about global warming and recycling and yada yada yada. So. I realized I couldn't give them cookies in disposable plastic bags. I went out last night and bought a whack of reusable sandwich containers to use instead. The process therefore involved a lot more washing of dishes than I'd intended. But at least my conscience is clear! And also, they won't hassle me about it. I asked them all to bring their own dishes & cutlery from home, to try to make it a "zero waste" party. We'll see just how well it goes!

And after...our own staff lunch party. Which is traditionally followed by two of the marketing team involving some of the staff in an odd game of one-up-manship...through karaoke. I do wonder how much self-respect I'll have intact by the end of the day. I wonder how much I'll really care! I will remember to have cab fare on hand, though; I 'spect I might not be able to manage transit by the end of it!

Ooops! I'm late for my dose of rum & eggnog. Best take care of that!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Word up

Being an ESL teacher, one hears all kinds of interesting interpretations of the English language. Thankfully my students are adults, so correcting misinformation is a little easier most of the time. But I do hear some funny things!

On a test: the correct answer to the question was: Being a police officer is more dangerous than being a teacher.

The most common answer given by students: A police officer is more dangerous than a teacher.

(Which may or may not be true, depending on who has the Taser, but that's another story!)

In class: "Teacher, why did my friend tell me it isn't correct to say 'I knocked up your door'?" (Well, there is the problem of splinters!)

During a shopping role play exercise, practicing expressions for refunds and exchanges: two students (women) have chosen to use a pet store for their practice. They have gone through meerkats, puppies, cats, and birds, when I overhear this exchange: "I'd like to exchange my beaver. It isn't friendly."

When I discreetly explained the idiomatic use of that particular word, they blushed beet red...and went back to the same example, giggling madly while the rest of the class kept asking "What? What?!"

I told them to ask the students in question, after class.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Yarn P*rn

In anticipation of an enforced yarn diet in the new year (ugh! I hate to use such foul language, but sometimes it's the only way to really get your point across!) I have had a couple of fallings-down.

But first, a finished object, pair of fingerless gloves in luscious Blue Sky Alpaca.


They're for my sister, the pattern is my own wing-it variation on Fetching. She mocked me when I made Fetching for myself...and then called me a couple weeks ago to apologize, her office was really cold, could I make her a pair? Being such a good big sister, of course I said yes. Being the older sister, I reserve the right to bug her a little for it. So I'm calling them "I Told You So."

Then...well...as I've said, Mr.Q and I are scaling back the Christmas thing this year. Instead of buying each other gifts, we agreed that we could each take out a bit of an allowance, and do something for ourselves. And since he loves shopping for records as much I enjoy hanging out in yarn stores - the self-shopping was part of the fun! Conveniently, his favourite record shop is about 4 blocks away from my favourite yarn store. So we took a couple of hours last weekend, and had a bit of playtime in our respective little havens.

When we met up again, he had a collection of obscure vinyl. I had three skeins of Dream in Colour Smooshy sock yarn. Really, how can you resist a sock yarn named "Smooshy"? I actually walked around the store, squishing it and making sound effects: "Smoosh, smoosh." One of the reasons I love knitters is that every person in the store understood, or at least accepted it without comment.

And honestly - a colourway called In Vino Veritas? Please! It was calling my name! Isn't it sexy?



Everything that I've seen on Ravelry with this yarn generally, and this colourway in particular, has been lovely. I can't wait to play with it!

Though it may have some competition for my attention, thanks to Rabbitch. Evil, evil bunny! I likes her. She dyed some merino and called it Raspberry Beret. Being a child of the '80s, I was compelled by the ghosts of my shoulder pads to indulge. We met for coffee last night, and she hooked me up:



It's just about as smooshy as the Smooshy. And when I pulled it out of the bag, my first instinct was to smell it - it looks like it should smell like rasperries. The funny thing is, it's not just me. When I got home & showed Mr.Q, the first thing he did was smell it! We loves it, we does, our preciousssss!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Just for fun!

Despite my best efforts, I caved when Mr.Q requested pizza for dinner. He convinced me by offering to run to the store to pick up a couple things (like dishsoap, which we are out of - I've been forgetting to buy it for a week or more, and he rinsed the last bit out of the bottle last night trying to get through supper dishes) The pizza would take about 40 minutes, he reasoned. Enough time to run to the store and back; meanwhile, I could relax and catch up on some blog reading.

The pizza came a little faster than expected, and Mr.Q wasn't back yet. I waited a few minutes...maybe he ran into a friend, maybe the line-ups were long at the store...and of course, he didn't have his cell phone with him. I figured I'd give him another 15 minutes before I started to worry.

About 13 minutes later, he called from the drugstore. The van wouldn't start. In fact, he'd had trouble starting it before he left the house, and no, it wan't the battery. He was pretty sure it was the starter. Could I call a tow truck?

I put his pizza in the oven. I am eyeing his cheap, crappy beer. (Wait! I have tequila! Be right back....)

Aaah! That's better. A wee sip, in the sheepy shotglass that Jel brought me from Ireland...

The guy at the towing company was very nice. He called me "dear" several times, but not in a patronizing, annoying kind of way. More like a sympathetic uncle. We've had good luck with tow truck drivers. We met a very nice one on our honeymoon, but that's another story. (The guy at the brake shop was also very sweet, as was the guy that looked at our muffler...it was a looong trip, in some ways!)

In fact, maybe I'll just take my tequila and sit in the corner, thinking about the nice tow truck driver that we met on our honeymoon. When our car died at Bridal Falls.

That will be much nicer than thinking about a new starter and all the other work we need to do on the van this month. You know, because we have so much fracking money to throw around!

(Yes, Rabbitch, I still want that yarn. I'll go so far as to say that I need that yarn. It's still a lot cheaper than therapy!)

I'm going to go comfort myself with the knowledge that at least my basement isn't flooding. Yet.

(But I did just spill a bit of tequila on the keyboard...whoops! Hey, I'm just sanitizing it, alright?)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Seasoned greetings

Seeing as it's December now, and also that it snowed yesterday (I realized that the problem with snowy weather here isn't so much that nobody's really used to it; or even that it is a wet, slippery kind of snow that can make driving a bitch - it's that there's very little snow removal equipment, and a teeny-tiny little snow removal budget...because apparently we don't get winter here. Kind of like a week ago, when the temperatures dipped below zero - in Canada, gasp! - and the new hi-tech trolley buses didn't work. Because even though they have ice-cutters on the poles, they read the frozen trolley lines as dead. Imagine that! Sub-zero temperatures in late November! Ooops. Sorry. Ranting again!)


Anyway. Back to the December/snow thing. I love how quiet everything seems with the snow, and how bright it is at night. How all the edges of the city are softened, and it starts to feel like Christmas.


I'll admit, I'm a suck. I love Christmas. Solstice. Fusilli Fest. Whatever. We're toning it waaaay down this year - and in fact, I'm already liking it more because of that. Instead of stressing out about shopping, we've got at least one party to go to every weekend between now and New Year's. Instead of worrying about travel plans on winter roads, we're staying here, looking forward to a mellow week of laying low.

I set up our "tree" today. (With a rescue by Mr.Q when the cords and threads of our new hanging-star-thingy started making me nuts!) It's wee. It's cheesy. It makes me ridiculously happy. I listened to The Grinch while setting it up.




The cats were a great help. As always.




Now I'm geared up for 3 weeks of mulled wine, eggnog, carolling, light-looking...maybe we'll actually get down to see the carolling ships this year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The people that you meet, when you're walking down the street....

So I'm sitting in my usual spot for lunch, on the sofa in the lobby of the school, with the window behind me. One of my co-workers, looking out the window, says "I wonder who all those people are?"

I look outside, and see a couple dozen people walking up the sidewalk with some flags and banners, but I don't recognize the symbols. "Huh. I wonder what they're protesting," I said, thinking they were a little nuts to be doing it at lunchtime in the freezing rain. But hey, when the world needs saving, you don't wait for the weather to co-operate, especially in Vancouver in the late fall. So, kudos to them.

A moment later, another group with more of the banners followed. Then another, like they'd been separated by traffic lights. Then I said, "My Mom's in town for a union conference. Wouldn't it be funny if that was them?"

Then I saw Mom walking with the next bunch.

So of course I grabbed my jacket and ran downstairs & outside to catch up with her. I walked with her for a couple of blocks. They were marching up to Sears, who have apparently been evil to their employees (so don't shop there!).

I love that I had a spontaneous, random encounter with my mother at a protest march on my lunch break. Sounds like something out of a movie or from one of those surreal Latin American novellas.

Off to eat cheese, drink wine, and indulge in chocolate while Jel & I discuss the relative merits of aquafit classes. Ah, the irony! I loves it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Oh no! Anything but THAT!

I was just on the phone with a friend, who informed me that there's a new weather warning in effect for Vancouver. Wanting to be informed, and having experienced some of the extreme weather here, especially winds, I thought I should investigate. Imagine my shock and consternation, upon going to the Weather Network and discovering that we in Vancouver are...(gasp!)...under a snowfall warning. In the city,we've been told to expect the terrifying total of - are you ready for this?! - up to FIVE CENTIMETRES. Five. (That's 2 inches for the Americans out there.)

O SAVE US, FSM!

(Now, I recognize that people in Whistler, and on the Island, and even on the North Shore, will actually probably get a decent amount of snow.) But in the city of Vancouver itself...puh-leeze! 5 centimetres! The problem is that a lot of people here (read: a lot of drivers) forget that we live in Canada (The Great White North, after all!) where we do occasionally get S-N-O-W. So the cause for concern isn't so much the snow itself - and I will concede that it can be slippery - but that a lot of people don't know how to manage in it.

So 2 inches just might be enough to shut the city down. While the rest of Canada laughs in our general direction.

Ha!

(Having said all this, and being the smartass that I am - we'll get a foot of it now, and I'll have to eat my words. That's OK. It doesn't change the truth!)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sushi Monkeys

I can't believe it's already Sunday night! I can't believe it's going to be December on Friday! I know I spend a lot of time boggling at the speedy passage of time. It's because it moves so darned fast!

Part of the weekend was spent visiting with my Mom, who stayed with us on Friday night. We went out to see one of Mr.Q's bands play at Hoko's Japanese House. Hoko's is a sushi bar/karaoke lounge that thinks it's part of the set for Saturday Night Fever, and has become one of the hottest venues in town for live music. (Let's not mention all the venues that have shut down due to pre-2010-Olympic development, oh no!) Anyway, Hoko's is fun. And their disco-light ball is hilarious. Actually, there are two. Which is even funnier.



Somehow, it was decided that I would be the designated driver, and Mom & Mr.Q had rather a few drinks. Which was fine with me, since they were having too much fun to gang up on me - something that often happens when they're together. (I suppose I shouldn't complain that he gets along so well with my family, but I do sometimes wish it wasn't at my expense!)


When the night was over, I took my usual place standing "bear watch" over the van while the band loaded their gear. Mom kept me company, and we were treated to the best organic television, a la "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom: Mating Dance of the Sushi Monkeys." A young couple were outside engaged in something which couldn't be described as anything as tasteful as a "Courting Ritual." This was a mating dance, full on. He was doing some kind of weird jumping-around-while-hunched-over thing. For a long time. I was half-expecting him to sprout coloured feathers from his arse. She was jumping around too, until she realized we were watching. Maybe the giggles alerted her. Or the commentary. The whole scenario was highly diverting.


As compensation for making me drive (which is an issue, not just coz I wanted another Strongbow, but coz I hate driving) Mom made apple-cinnamon pancakes for breakfast the next morning. She kind of reminds me of those women you see on soap operas, where they put on heels and sparklies and perfect lip liner before they take a shower. Not. However, her apron is way cooler than any you'll see on a daytime soap, don't you think?


The pancakes were very tasty. Then my sister came into town and we went Christmas shopping. Blarg! It's still November. There's no snow. It was rather strange to be Christmas shopping. But also it was a beautiful day to be walking around, poking into cool little shops.


Mom'll be in town a few more days, and I'm getting a kick out of our next planned encounter - in quite the role reversal, she'll be bringing her laundry to do at my house! Weird!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Zapped!

The sock-in-progress has a crush on Dweezil Zappa. So, I must confess, do I. We had the good fortune to see his show in Vancouver on Tuesday night, and OMG! What a great time! I was still hopping when I woke up yesterday morning.


You see, Mr.Q writes for a monthly arts-n-music publication, The Nerve. It's volunteer, but he gets to review all kinds of fun stuff. And every once in awhile, he gets to do some pretty cool interviews...like one with Dweezil Zappa for the November issue. And sometimes, he gets to go see the shows as a "media guest." Like Tuesday. We got our tickets from the Will Call window, and made our way through the madding crowd into the theatre to look for our seats. Being freebies, we were resigned to noseblood seats. So you can imagine our surprise when we found ourselves looking at the stage from this angle:



I guess "front row centre" isn't eezackly considered nosebleed! Mr.Q was quite cute in his initial disbelief. Me, I was happy to accept our lot, and settled in to enjoy myself. I was really excited for him, though - he puts a lot of work and love into his journalism, and doesn't always get a lot of return for it. It's certainly not as visible as playing his bass, and he doesn't always get as much recognition or validation as he earns. But this - front row centre at a Zappa show - well, it was like he had finally "arrived." He even had a security guard come up and make sure he hadn't had any problems getting his pass. Meet my husband, the Rock Journalist. Hee hee!

We had a bit of a wait before the show, so I pulled out the sock and let it have a look around. I love that the security guards didn't even bat an eye at it!



And then the tunes started, and there was no knitting for some time. Now, I'm not terrifically familiar with Frank Zappa's music - and this was a great introduction! I couldn't tell you what songs they played, or how the new arrangements compared to the originals...but I can tell you that the musicianship was stellar, they played for 3 hours without a break, and I totally should have worn earplugs!



The best part for me was how much FUN they were having onstage. Not goofy, silly, detracting-from-the-music fun - but the whimsical, playful kind that comes when musicians love the music they play, really like playing it with each other, and are good enough to pull it off without screwing up. Here they are at the end of the show - still smiling:



And finally, the sock shows Dweezil some love:


I don't think I stopped grinning all evening. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night! Though I will admit that both the sock and I, enchanted as we were with Mr.Z - had a question for him: What was with those pants?!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tag again (So I'm slow!)

So Barb tagged me a few days ago, and I've just now got time to sit down to it...or, more accurately, Mr.Q's out, so I get the computer for a leetle while! Here we go again - settle in, folks, it's a long 'un!

1. What were you afraid of as a child? Thunder. I was sure, every time there was a thunderstorm, that it was actually a nuclear bomb (Like Cranbrook would be a military target!) Also, sharks in the lake. Never mind about the fresh water thing.

2. When have you been most courageous? Giving notice at my full-time-but-crappy job, while Mr.Q was on tour with no guarantee that he'd have a job when he got back - Knowing I wouldn't be able to collect EI and we had nothing by way of savings, and we'd have to live solely on his income for several months - Signing up for a rather expensive course to get certified in a field I knew little about (ESL) at a time of the year when jobs in that field are uber-scarce - Having no idea at all when, or even if, the risk would pay off but knowing that slinging coffee for minimum wage was no longer an option if I wanted to keep my sanity or that not-going-to-jail-for-murdering-a-really-stupid-person-thing intact....Felt rather like I imagine sky-diving would, but with no instructor, and I'd only read a book about it, and I had no idea if my parachute would open. What fun! I could not go through that again, and be quite happy! But I did it.

And it paid off. Hah! I rock.

3. What sound most disturbs you? People eating crunchy food. Especially, but not only, with their mouths open. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

4. What is the greatest amount of physical pain you’ve been in? About 3 or 4 weeks before our wedding, I tore part of the ligaments in my left elbow, and took a bone chip with 'em. The most fun part was when I went to the clinic, the duty doctor told me it was "tennis elbow" and to immobilize it, brushing off my insistent protests that it was definitely the wrong kind of pain. I finally went to emergency after 3 nights of not sleeping from the pain- they did an x-ray, spotted the bone chip, sent me that day for a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon...who told me (thankfully!) that I wouldn't need surgery...but that if I'd listened to the first doctor, I would have lost most of the range of motion in my elbow. Yes, I'm still bitter. (And very glad I listened to my elbow instead of the idiot doctor!)


5. What’s your biggest fear for your children? (or children in general if you don’t have some of your own.) Can we say "climate change," boys and girls? Also, the seeming decline in civility and just plain old paying attention that appears to be going on. And people driving with cellphones.

6. What is the hardest physical challenge you’ve achieved? The first time I climbed a mountain (Lakit Lookout, for the folks who know it) It was the middle of night by the time we found the trail head, and a nearly-full moon. We climbed up by moonlight, which was beautiful - but I had never tried anything like it. The trail was short, but pretty steep, and at a fairly high altitude. And also I had a crappy pack. I thought it was going to kill me, and one of the guys with us ended up carrying my pack part of the way. We slept in a tiny cabin at the top, and woke up to a glorious sunrise over the Rockies...well worth it! (Until I realized that the outhouse - the coolest outhouse you could imagine, there are actually postcards of it! - was on the very edge of cliff, and I hate heights!) The first time...but not the last! Some good trips up there, and the hills around...

7. Which do you prefer: Mountains or oceans/big water? Mountains, hands down. I love the ocean, but mountains...well. Climbing 'em, camping in 'em, berry-picking, wildlife, wild flowers, just sitting and watching the light change on them...it just feels like home in my bones. (Also, see answer # 6, above!)

8. What is the one thing you do for yourself that helps you keep everything together? Having my own room in our apartment. When we first moved in together, I decided that I needed my own space, wherever we lived. It's become a habit bordering on necessity, and it saves my sanity. No piles, no record collections...my books, my guitar, my yarn, quiet, space. Virginia Woolf knew what she was talking about.

9. Ever had a close relative or friend with cancer? Really, who hasn't?

10. What are the things your friends count on you for? Honesty, loyalty, cookies and jam. Maybe not always in that order.

11. What is the best part of being in a committed relationship? Being able to be silly and whimsical and make up funny songs about farting and knowing he'll play along and not think I'm too weird to hang out with. Being sad or grumpy and knowing he'll not only endure my mood, but try to make it better. Being happy or excited, and knowing he'll share that with me. And knowing that I get to reciprocate, and we're not only not-bored with each other, but we get to watch each other find out new things about ourselves and each other, which is very cool, and after almost 8 years his impish grin still makes me weak in the knees. And making people choke on mushballs is fun. Not to mention writing "Zimbu the Love Chimp" on his lunch bag. (Well, and, erm, as Barb said, there's that - ahem - that naked thing....)

12. What is the hardest part of being in a committed relationship? The fact that he wasn't trained to housework by my mother. It sounds facetious, but it's true. I mean, how is it not obvious that if you wash the dishes, you wipe off the stove? That there are no laundry fairies? And so on and on...A constant parade of little things not-quite-finished gets very, very frustrating to live with. (In his defence, he wasn't taught to do housework by his mother either - she has rather Cleaver-esque ideas about gender roles in the home. Taking that into account, he actually does pretty well, and he really does do a fair share of the housework. Even if it's not always done properly.)

But really - though it is partly really about the housework, I also know that it's about different priorities and worldviews. For example, I want/need a comfortable, reasonably orderly space to recharge in...it's not as important to him. How to reconcile that, and other differences? It certainly keeps things interesting! It's like we're dancing together, but each to a different song, and the challenge is to try not to stomp on each other's toes while we're doing it. Not so easy, sometimes!

13. Summer or Winter? Why? Neither. I'm a Spring/Autumn kind of gal...and if I had to choose one of those, I'd pick early autumn, when the light's just turning the colour of honey and the air's getting crisp, and the leaves are crunchy on the ground and I get to wear big sweaters again...

14. Have you ever been in a school-yard fight? Why and what happened? Once, in Grade 6 or 7. I don't remember why, but one of the girls in my class decided I needed to be whupped for something or other. She landed one punch - a rather wimpy one, I don't recall that it hurt at all - and then she got so freaked out about getting in trouble that she ran to tell the teacher about it. Very anti-climactic, really!

15. Why blog? Why not? But seriously...it's a way to order my thoughts, find the humour in my day, meet people on-line and off (some of my good "real-life" friends now are people I met through blogging), keep up with what my blogging friends and family are up to...it's a new and very cool way of building a different kind of community. Plus, I find all kinds of fun knitting patterns!

16. Did you learn about sex, and/or sex safety from your parents? Umm, yeah! I don't remember getting The Big Talk - but I also don't remember having questions not answered. As for the safety bit...well, let's see. There were the "safe socks" in my stocking one year - socks with a pocket sewn on the side, to hold a condom. There was the funky woven hemp condom carrier another year. (Which won me tickets to a rock festival once, but that's another story...) Etc. etc.

17. How do you plan to talk to your kids about sex and/or sex safety? Are you kidding? I'm gonna send them to talk to my parents!

18. What are you most thankful for this year? I have to pick one thing? Time with Mr.Q. Our summer holiday, sitting by a river, doing sweet frak all for several days. The fact that he didn't tour this year, saving me a great deal of time alone and stress about finances. Seeing my family several times this year. New fridge art and lots of cuddles from the kidlets. My sister moving out to the coast. A chance to visit with my brother and his GF before they took off travelling for a year. Finding my sea legs as a teacher. Meeting new friends. The old, good friends, made better. Music. The ocean smell from our yard, on certain days. The awareness that I am lucky, and the good fortune of being able to appreciate it in the moment.

(And free Dweezil Zappa tix tomorrow night...wahoo!)

I'm not sure who to tag with this one...Jel, when she resurfaces from school. Little Mother, coz I'm curious about her answers. Ari, who has a great vocabulary. And anybody else who wants to jump on the bandwagon - come on up! It's loads of fun, and there may be some Bailey's around here. Or even tequila, if you're so inclined!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Errata

A conversation with my parents last night compells me to correct/add to some of the information in the previous post:

4) Dad tried to save the hamster.

5) There were not only police officers in the restaurant, but judges as well.

7) Dad also made me learn to change a tire before I was allowed to take the car out for the first time. I remember being annoyed, because I was wearing my favourite sweater, in an effort to impress a boy, and I didn't want to get it dirty. He says that's why he made me do it then.

I am really surprised I don't need therapy. (Or maybe I do, I'm just not in therapy!) At any rate. I was going to tackle Barb's tag-questions today...but it's almost 12:30 and I am just now dragging my sorry arse into gear. (Actually, neither my arse nor any other part of me is sorry; I'm feeling deliciously well-rested!) So, I'll prolly leave the other post till later today or tomorrow. I may have to see whether Jel needs help trapping a mouse, and how her artistic arrangement of fibre in her empty fishtank is going. And maybe join the cats for a nap. I can tell it's going to be a completely unproductive day. Lovin' it!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tag! I'm it!

I've been tagged not once, but twice today...I feel so special! Since Ari got me first, here's Seven Random Things About Me (I'll do Barb's tomorrow.)

The Rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules. (done!)
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some wierd. (check!)
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names and link to them. (yep)
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog. (got it!)

1.) My middle name, Shiloh, is from the Neil Diamond song, courtesy of my father. My niece Shiloh was not named for me, but for the Biblical location. Even so, when she's a bit older (and I learn to play all those F*%$@D -up suspended D chords on the guitar) I'm gonna teach her the song, and we're going to sing it for Dad and see how long it takes to make him melt into a puddle. (Love ya, Daddy-O!)

2) When all the world's against me, and the sky is falling, my miracle cure is: a big bowl of Froot Loops. And then a second bowl right after. Never fails.

3) Mr.Q and I first met 21 years ago, in junior high. We hated each other. I still have our yearbooks with the nasty inscriptions to each other. Sometimes I like to joke that he had to marry me as penance. (I have only just now realized that that could work in the other direction too....Hmmm!)

4) When I was about 2 or 3, I had a hamster that I re-named every day, after a different member of the Peanuts gang. Then I gave him a bath in the dishwater and drowned him.

5) When I was about 2 or 3, I had an upset stomach one day. Mom was taking care of my baby sister in the other room, so I climbed up onto the counter and grabbed what looked to me like gripe water, and drank a bunch. It was rubbing alcohol. The doctor said to take me for a milkshake. I remember being very excited about going to Smitty's for a milkshake for breakfast. I don't remember dancing on the tables and singing. It was 7:00 AM, and the cops about to start day shift were having coffee. Whee!

6) When I was in junior high, all the girls in my biology lab had the biggest crush on Duran Duran. We named our frog "Simon" after Mr. Le Bon, for the duration of our disection. Then we found out it was a female frog. Ooops!

7) My Dad first taught me to knit, using 2 pencils and a piece of string. Also, he had the biggest make-up kit in our house. Mom was the one who taught me how to throw a football, and do my first oil-change.

So there ya have it! Now, I have to tag a few....Sarah, Jel, Anie, Barb, Rebecca, Wenchlette, and Arctic Knitter.

Whew! Naptime, I think. Tonight I send Mr.Q off to the Island for the weekend, and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with myself, Rabbitch's wheel, and Jel, who's also flying solo for a couple of days. I do hope there's Indian food at some point!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Long weekends rock! (Or, more accurately, they "folk"!)

We've had a very nice long weekend. Rather busy, but in a good "making order from chaos while still sleeping in a little and hanging out in coffee shops and maybe baking cookies" kind of way. Finished a hat this weekend, from not-quite-one-skein of Malabrigo, pattern of my own devising:



I'm 'specially pleased with the decreases, which were more challenging than I ought to admit. But I wanted the purl-y bits to kind of merge into the rest, and I'm rather impressed that I managed to figure it out with minimal tinking. (Not to be confused with minimal thinking. Coz there was a lot of that!)



I'm mostly quite pleased with it, except it's supposed to match a scarf I've just started, same yarn, same colourway (Azul Profundo) - but there are about 17 shades of difference between the skeins, so they match the way my cutlery does. Which is NOT. Oh well! Another reason to glory in thwarting the fashion police!

Meanwhile, the cats have managed to illustrate just about perfectly the mood of the weekend:


Except there's been rather less head licking between the human residents of our wee abode. Though with the cookies (choc chip) there's been a bit of spoon-licking. More calories, fewer furballs. I guess that's the trade-off.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Who is Lester, anyway, and why don't my cats like him?

I was going to title this post "Stuffing Rabbitch's orifice from both ends," but even Mr.Q found that a little shocking. And since I know my parents visit here periodically, I wouldn't want to shock them. (Stop laughing, both of you! Sheesh.)

Yesterday was a near perfect day. I slept in. I went for coffee, and to my gleeful surprise, discovered that The Bean has started with the eggnog lattes already. Oh frabjous day! I love how the "latte art" kind of looks like the Grinch's dog when he puts the reindeer antlers on it:



After a delicious, leisurely coffee and muffin, I hied me to the Rabbitch Hutch, for my first ever spinning lesson. Now, I've had a couple of heavy petting sessions with Jel's drop spindle, but there was wine involved, and I don't remember much. This, though - this was really my first time. I was nervous, I didn't know what to expect. And it was painful at first, but Rabbitch was very gentle. Eventually I sort of started figuring it out, but I'm still not sure where everything goes, or how it all fits together.

And let me tell you something: spinning is not the sweet, innocent grandmotherly craft it pretends to be! It's rude! I mean really - what respectable craft involves an orifice and an orifice hook? Among other things. My word! Here's Rabbitch, trying to get at her orifice from both ends:



After two hours - which really didn't feel that long at all! - I had my first yarn, about 3 inches of which were sort of even and not too badly overspun. See?



I don't know what I was spinning with. Something sturdy enough to survive my total lack of finesse. It was too much fun! When we finished, she sent me home with a bag of fibre and her extra wheel. I think I might have truly come over to the dark side now! I celebrated by spending a peaceful afternoon in bed with a good book.

The peace was rather shattered when Mr.Q came home. "Honey," he called from the living room, "the cats have been attacking your wool." Well. Needless to say, that got my butt out of bed right quick! Seems somebody had gotten into the bag of animal hair that Rabbitch had sent home with me, and pulled out a piece (only a small one, thankfully!) of the blue-faced leicester....and peed on it! Aaargh! Stinkers!

The rest of the fibre was untouched, and most of the leicester was still in the bag and safe. "Why did you pee on the leicester?" I demanded. They didn't answer. "Who's Lester?" Mr.Q asked.

Sigh. I put it away in a cupboard.

After supper, I headed out again for more fibre (and other craft-related fun) with some other knitting pals. We went down to the Circle Craft market together. Let me tell you, this was not your average pre-Christmas craft sale, oh no! It was ginormous. And very, very cool. I picked up a few stocking stuffers (yes, I know it's stupidly early, but my family has decided to go with a "Hand-made or Fair Trade" theme for the stockings this year, and so this was a perfect opportunity to pick up some funky local stuff). There was a booth with "secret compartment books" where they had taken second-hand books and glued the pages together, and cut out a secret compartmend inside. Very cool!

Also, there was yarn. I was surprisingly restrained. Looking at this from Indigo Moon:



I managed two amazing feats: one, I did not take off all my clothes and roll around in it; two, I walked away with only one skein! (I did, however, get my ticket re-validated, so I could, in theory, go back today....

After the madness, we did the only thing we could. We went for beer. Crazy, loud, noisy, a hockey game in overtime on TVs everywhere in the pub. We responded the best way we know how - pulled out our knitting. And did a little yarn fondling, in some cases:


Heading to the bus stop after, I called Mr.Q to check the bus schedule. "Take a taxi" he said. "What?!?! That's yarn money!" I responded. I could hear a weary sigh on the other end. "I could see the yarn lust boiling in your eyes before you left the house," he said, in his best Eeyore voice.

I have no idea what he's talking about.

To top the day off just perfectly - I was the one out till midnight, and he was the one in bed and asleep early, which I found entertaining. Holy role reversal, batman!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Mewses

I haven't posted any cat pics in awhile, and I'm sure certain paternal members of my family are jonesing for a feline fix (also, there is nothing else at all to tell you about, except maybe the grilled-cheese-and-tomato sandwich I had for dinner, and watching Firefly re-runs...) So. Meow Mix:

The Happy Couple - note Bagheera's paw around Brigid's shoulders:


Aren't they sweet?

What you don't see is Bagheera (fixed Bagheera!) trying to mount the kitten a few minutes later. And getting his semi-geriatric arse whupped. I do wish they'd figure out who's Alpha Cat! 3 of the beasties in the house, and nobody wants the job.

Singe, resting after a rough night of providing for the household:

(Note the ugly UBC library chairs in the back. Which are now gone! All gone! Have I mentioned my new IKEA chairs? I love them! I'm suddenly eating meals at the table again!)

And all three of them (with Mr.Q's leg) taking a nap after a rough day of napping:

I'm rather pleased that the cooler weather has allowed the re-mergence of the RocknRoll quilt...A courting gift from me to Mr.Q, many moons ago. A good way to use up a few of his kajillions of band/music t-shirts. (The thing is huge - bigger than king-sized, and heavy, with a double layer of cotton batting inside. Sometimes I think I had to marry him just coz I couldn't part with the quilt, after so much work.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Serious post ahead!

Being up waaay earlier than I wanted to be (yay time change!) I am indulging in a cup of coffee with a splash of Bailey's. Never mind that it's barely 9:00 a.m. I kind of enjoy the slightly naughty feeling I get from it, really: Ooooh! Look at me! I'm sooooo bad, drinking alcohol before breakfast! And nobody can stop me coz I'm a grown-up. Nyah nyah!

I had maybe half-an-ounce of Bailey's left, truthfully. I'm going to have to work at little harder at this bad-ass thing. But not this morning. Today, I want to add a little "nice" to my list, in preparation for when Santa comes calling next month. (Next month! How did that happen? I was just at my junior high Christmas dance the week before last!)

Anyway. My Baby Sister is part of a group of folks in our hometown, Cranbrook, trying to do something to get an emergency homeless shelter off the ground. And to get right to the point - I'm wondering if any of you can help, or can pass this along to anyone you know who might be able to. I recognize that there are issues in every community that need addressing, and that we can't always do as much as we'd like. Heck, Vancouver has the poorest postal code in Canada! The problem's a bit different in a small town, though: First of all, it's cold in the mountains in the wintertime. And the problem is a lot less visible than it usually is in a larger centre; thus, it's often overlooked by many people. Also, there are often far fewer resources available in small towns.

They have the space - a very important first step! But they need help to do the necessary renovations - nothing fancy-shmancy, but beds, blankets and bathrooms, that kind of thing.

When I went to hear the Harlot speak in Vancouver, I was blown away. I loved (loved!) what she said about knitters being "super-responders" when it came to people needing help. Coz something inherent in the craft helps us feel not overwhelmed by the scope of something. A lot of people feel helpless - "What good will my $10/$5/$2 do? What's the point?" But knitters get that my $5, together with my neighbour's, and my cousin's, and their neighbours' and cousins'....well, just like stitches in a sock, it starts to add up!

So. Enough rambling. If you or anybody you know are interested and/or able to help, please pop over to my sister's blog and leave her a message. (Also, you should read her post about Mom's gallstones!) Now - back to my coffee! (And my latest copy of the Oprah magazine, a guilty pleasure, which has already given me one valuable insight: Go and google "Very Excited Pug.")

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I am woman! Hear me drill!

We met my sister at IKEA this morning, so I could collect my birthday present (New dining chairs! Thanks, collective-thinking family!) I haven't assembled the chairs yet, we're waiting till tomorrow, when we have time to take the old chairs to the thrift store. Our place is too, too tiny to have extra chairs (and the empty boxes) hanging out for any length of time, even just overnight.

In fact, our place is too, too tiny to deal with the ridiculous number of CDs that we have (not to mention books, random papers, and records. Yes, records. The big, vinyl kind) So, since we just happened to be at IKEA anyway, I splurged on one of these:




I have just spent the better part of 90 minutes assembling and stocking it. I love my cordless drill! Every girl should have battery-operated toys. I mean tools. Ahem.

I have just finished celebrating my triumph with cookies and milk, in a wineglass. I feel very decadent!

Friday, November 2, 2007

F is for Friday

Something in Barb's latest post triggered a childhood memory that I feel compelled to share. What with "F" being for "Friday" and all...

When I was about 7 or 8, we started learning cursive writing in school. I had a hard time with it. I was excited about the process, though, as I loved making up stories, and they'd only look better on paper with this fancy new style of writing! So I worked at it very hard, even when I could have been playing with my Star Wars action figures.

Finally, I felt, I had mastered the particularly difficult letter "F." I wanted to show off to my mother, my parents being quite supportive of all our creative pursuits. (Well, except maybe that time I drew a sun - or was it a cloud? - on that guy's painting at the art gallery, but I hardly remember that, so I don't suppose it counts. Though my difficulties with visual art may stem from that early trauma....)

Anyway. Back to the writing: I found a notepad and a pen, and sat down at the table. Painstakingly, with the greatest care (and uncharacteristic patience!), I wrote the best phrase I could think of, with the most "F"s. With great excitement, I took my masterpiece to my mother, anticipating her maternal pride, the smile which would accompany her praise. Maybe she'd even give me a cookie. This writing thing was great!

You can imagine my proud mother's sweet, joyful reaction when I handed her the pad, on which I'd written a good two dozen times, that F-laden phrase: "f**k off"

(In retrospect, I bet that as soon as she was in private, she laughed her arse off about it...though I'm glad she didn't think to tell the story at my wedding!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"What if I changed my name to Zimbu the Love Chimp?"

That was the question that Mr.Q had for me as we were walking home from the bus yesterday afternoon. I suspect I looked a little like a fish out of water, my mouth opening and closing soundlessly as my addled brain tried to compose some kind of answer. My brain failed utterly. Sometimes, the mysteries of life just cannot be solved. Sometimes, you just have to accept that you will never know the answer, and you must move on, trusting that the cosmos is unfolding as it should. And also, that you shouldn't encourage certain people by responding. So instead of an answer to that particular question, I'm going to tell you about my weekend.

A week and a half or so ago, my mother called me. Not so unusual, we talk pretty regularly. She wanted to know what I was doing on the 26th. "Not so much," I said. "Why?" Well, she was organizing this women's conference, and needed some entertainment for the Friday evening. Could I come out and do a few songs?

Let's leave aside, for the moment, the fact that I have done just about zero performing in the last few years. And the fact that there would be almost zero time to practice with my partners-in-crime before the event. Since I would be arriving about 2 hours before I had to perform. No, these weren't the big problems. There was the minor little detail of living about 800 km away, and plane tickets into wee towns being ridiculously expensive (I could fly to Manchester cheaper than another town in the same province!)

Well, my mama's a bit on the stubborn side. A flurry of phone tag followed, and the next day she called and said they'd discovered a credit with the local airline that needed to be used, and so my ticket was covered. By this time in my life, I try to be smart enough to accept that when some things fall into place just so, it's meant to be. So I said yes.

Then promptly panicked (see "facts put aside" above!) I found myself on the bus to and from work, practicing a couple of Meryn Cadell pieces under my breath. Though I think there may have been some actual out-loudness going on. Whoops! Evenings were spent frantically emailing set- lists back and forth with my musical buddies, and digging out CDs and trying to re-learn music I haven't touched in 4 or 5 years.

Needless to say, the week flew by. And I was rather a little nervous! Also, the cab driver to the airport was completely psycho, which did nothing to help my delicate state of mind. As luck would have it, though, I got into town just in time to practice the tunes once or twice, before we rushed over to the venue.

There was time for a quick warm-up in the bathroom. (Which turned out not to be empty. She did say she'd never enjoyed a serenade in such an unusual place.) As well, my Dear Darling Baby Sister, besides arranging for the sound system and agreeing to sing a couple of songs, handled the really important detail: the traditional mickey of Fireball Whiskey. Even Mom thought it was a great idea:



The whiskey helped with the warm-up, and the performance went even better than I'd hoped. "The Kitchenettes" - my pal Anie and I - sang a few songs, and were joined by Sis for a couple at the end. Then we went for a drink with Mom and a few other crazy chicas. And then went to bed rather earlier than expected. Not that I was complaining!

A restful sleep at my sister's was necessary to prepare myself for some serious cuddle time with The Niblings. Here we are all practicing our pouty faces:


Also, they drew me some fridge art to take home...of Mr.Q and I being "stunk by a skunk." In the picture, we do not have happy faces.


Saturday night, I stayed with Mom and her friend, and we had a bit of a slumber party - lots of ridiculously good food, tequila, and Festival Express (a great documentary, I highly recommend it!) It was a girls' night, since Dad was in Toronto visiting family...and we were in bed by 10:00. I don't remember being that much of a party pooper when I went to slumber parties in school!


Sunday, Dad managed to get back from Calgary in time to see him for about an hour and 22 minutes...but it was an hour and 22 minutes more than I'd expected, so it was good...his mother sent some of Granddad's old hats back for the kids. They are so very, very cool - too cool for this old auntie!






It was great to have a weekend away - to sing with good people - to see the mountains and the sunshine - to have some good estrogen-bonding time - to get a few cuddles from the kidlets - I could have used another week! Still, it was nice to head home to my own space and my own bed...Contemplative airplane photo:
And of course, I missed the cats. I'm still deciding about Zimbu the Love Chimp.
(I wrote "Zimbu the Love Chimp" on his lunch bag. I would love to have seen the faces of the other guys on the construction site at lunch time!)