Friday, January 26, 2007

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood....

O Frabjous Day! Callooh, Callay! It's SUNNY out today! Suddenly, leaving the house to walk down to the "neighbourhood" doesn't seem like a tedious chore; it's a joy-full compulsion. Something happens out here on a sunny day in winter. After weeks of gloom and grey and grumpiness, the collective moods of the better part of 2.2 million people simultaneously lift, and this becomes the friendliest place in the world. It's marvelous. And MUCH needed!
I had planned to spend my day off nesting in bed with a stack of library books...but waking up to the SUNSHINE tossed that plan out the window. Instead, I took pen and paper and headed down to the local coffee shop to catch up on some letters. En route, I saw this:

Crocuses, which will probably bloom in the next week or so....and the daffodils shoots are starting to peek out, too. Hooray! And, as I was walking by a neighbour's house, I heard an odd bird call...looking up, I saw these:

Not the greatest picture, they were much more impressive in real life, but a pair of bald eagles nonetheless. Just enjoying the view, I suppose. Very cool!

I spent a pleasant hour or more (too nice a day to watch the clock) sipping a mocha and writing letters. Ran errands while I was in the Neighbourhood - which is how we refer to the 5-block stretch of the Hastings Sunrise area that contains our favourite coffee shop, local branches of the public library and the credit union, grocers, bakeries, small hardware store, drugstore, post office and video store. And new eatery, the Roundel Cafe, where I had a delicious date-feta-walnut salad with maple dressing for lunch. It's a pretty convenient, pedestrian-friendly area to live. And the 20-25 minute walk each way is a delight in this weather. A hint of brine in the air, the mountains clear and crisp in the sunlight....mmmmm! Life be good today.

Though one odd - yet humorous - event occurred. This sock-knitting thing, while fabulous, has finally caused me to cut through a certain measure of denial and admit an uncomfortable truth. Those stitches are tiny. TEENY-tiny. As much as I hate to admit it, I would be helped greatly by the use of reading glasses. I found a cheap set of magnifying-glasses at the dollar store. I bought them. It was very odd. I'm sure the lady at the counter thought so, too, as I pulled out my knitting and looked at it through various pairs of glasses.

Since the socks have been mentioned, I suppose an update is in order. I give you Sock the First, heel turned and gusset halfway through the decreases....relatively painless, after some extraordinary tutoring from Francesca at Three Bags Full:

And because I'm an overachiever (or a geek with a yarn compulsion, but I'm OK with that...) I give you the progress already accomplished on Sock the Second:

I can't wait to finish. I can't wait to wear them. I am bribing myself with a reward. I can't wait to wear those, either!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Oops! I did it again...

Well. We inherited a really nice bed from my sister, and we went out to her new place in Langley to pick it up. Now, SHE hasn't seen her new place yet, as she's still in I got to see it first! HAHAHAHAHA! (Seriously, it's a nice condo, and we also met her fiance's parents who came out to help him get the place set up, and they made us a HUGE lunch and were very friendly. I came home and called her to say I approved of her marrying into his family. Like I have anything to say about it!)

So we got home, took apart our old bed and set up the new one, and sat on it for a minute, and agreed: Lovely! And got up and went back to bustling about. We'd gone to Value Village on the way out to Langley, and scored big time. Work clothes for both of us, and some records for Ferdy. I had to clear out my closet and get rid of some stuff while the new stuff was in the wash, to make room for it (Two BIG bags gone - how liberating! - so much that I was going to title this entry "Binge and purge")

Mr.Q left about 8:00 to go live the rocknroll fantasy, and I thought: I'll just go cuddle with the cats on that new bed for a few minutes. I crawled under the covers and thought again: Lovely! It feels like being in a big, soft nest. Mmmm!

And that was my last thought until I woke up again at 1:30 A.M. Doh! Two weekends in a row. I have GOT to quit living this fast life! I was all perky and blog-surfing when Mr.Q got home just before 3:00. I did manage to sleep again for a couple of hours, thankfully. I'm currently listening to a knitting podcast. It's actually really interesting, an interview with a man who learned to knit in South America as a child, and now teaches knitting classes at his sons' elementary school to provide an alternate lunchtime activity for kids who aren't crazy about sports. More than half the kids in his classes are boys. Cool!

Tomorrow: second sock knitting class: heels and gussets. I'll post a progress report after, as I know that my family, at least, are waiting anxiously for an update.....right, guys? Right?

(For the record, some of what went to the thrift store last night included some hoarded yarn that I would never, ever use, that I didn't even like, and that would surely make someone else happy. So I'm not THAT much of an addict!)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Humpty-dumpty Day




And so on. Particularly grey today. And this snow/cold thing is getting a little old. If I wanted REAL winter, I'd have stayed in the Rockies! At least I can console myself with the fact that we'll have flowers here in a few more weeks, as opposed to a few more months. And next Friday is a "non-instructional day"- which means no school and thus no pay - but a long weekend. For which I am MORE than ready. But I sure could use a good dose of sunshine, before my eyes get so acclimatized to the dim light that I'm blinded when that mysterious, bright light shows up in the sky looks vaguely familiar, but I can't quite place it...what is it?

I get to inherit a new bed from my sis this weekend. And see her new condo before she does.... heheheheheheheh! I think I'll tell her fiancé and his parents about the time she dropped that cleaver on my foot when we were kids.

Oh, my, how a little contemplation of minor evil improves the mood! Mwah hah hah hah! I suspect a little hot choc & Bailey's will do the rest. Might also help with the Greek-food induced garlic breath.....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Circadian Arrhythmia

Oy! Friday night I had lovely puttering plans....knit a little, maybe a very little bit of housework, a quick jaunt to the grocery store for stuff to make cinnamon buns for Saturday, a bit of reading, some hot chocolate with Bailey's....a relaxing, indulgent night to myself, while Mr.Q was out at a show.

Nope! Fell asleep at 7:30. And I mean ASLEEP. Woke up just before 3:00, wide awake. Ooops! So I was up for a couple of hours...made Mr.Q a grilled cheese sandwich when he got home in the wee small hours, knit a couple more inches on my sock...finally managed to get back to sleep around 5:00 for a couple of hours. So much for sleeping in on Saturday!

We went out to have dinner and hear some music at the Railway Club last night. Tasty burgers, great tunes, lots of fun all around. But we left after the second band, around midnight, since I'd been up since before 8:00. I am such an old fart! But a well-rested one...

And of course, I've been up since about 6:00 this morning, as a result of my muddled sleep schedule. Rickin' frackin'! So far this morning, I have played online Scrabble, browsed a few blogs, done dishes, and started dough rising for those cinnamon buns. It's not even 8:30. On the weekend. Blarg!

At least it's been a productive weekend, in a good way (as in, some creativity and enjoyment involved, not just "Yay, the bathroom's clean!") Yesterday morning I worked on some cards for a swap:

Yesterday afternoon, we toodled about the neighbourhood, enjoying the sunshine and the coffee shop:

And there has been significant progress on The Sock (they grow up so quickly....sigh!):

Whew! And into the week again....I've had two different friends ask me this week if I'd teach them to knit. Which is exciting, not even for the knitting part (I'll get you all, and your little dogs too, heheheheheh!) but because they are both people I'd enjoy spending more time with. And where a mere "coffee-date" might seem unimportant and easily-blown-off in a hectic life, a "knitting night" gives it a focus that makes it easier to follow through with plans. Knitting a new kind of social fabric. What fun!

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I know not all of you are knitters (yet....heheheheheh!) but indulge me, go here, and check out the Jan.11th post. I'm steaming out my ears and muttering 4-letter words at the fantastic idiocy of banks. I am resolved to buy a lottery ticket this weekend. Everyone has vague dreams of what they'd do if they won the lottery, usually involving cars and houses and maybe yachts and travel and warm, sandy beaches and pool-boys massaging sunscreen on their backs and feeding them peeled grapes....oh! Sorry, was that out loud? Ahem. Anyway.

If I win a large chunk of money, I have a very specific plan involving student loans. See, many of them can be paid off in one fell swoop without penalty. So I would start with mine, and then pay off as many of my friends', family's, acquantainces', waitresses', bus drivers', etc, as I could. Thereby fucking the banks out of tens of thousands of dollars in criminally high interest.

Mwah hah hah hah hah.

On the sock front, so far so good. I am about done the ribbing for the cuff on Sock #1. Twice. Since I thought it was too small at first. I was wrong, but only realized this after taking it off the needles. Ooops! I'll post a picture when it's a bit longer.

And some good news this week...I had been laid off from the school where I work, just before Christmas. In a rather distressing and poorly-handled manner. I've been subbing almost constantly since then, at the same school, which has been nice as far as rent coming up and all that. But a little odd as far as morale and peace (piece?) of mind go. However, yesterday I had a very satisfying conversation about it all with one of the senior staff; and the same afternoon, was offered full-time hours again, starting next week. Whew! Rollercoasters never did do much for my digestion. I'm still wary, of course, but it seems like this is more common than not in this industry, and I really enjoy both my colleagues and the students there. So. I 'spect I'll sleep a little better tonight!

(And maybe celebrate with a wee trip to the yarn store.....!)

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Oh my!


My Fortune Cookie told me:
Try spearmint-flavoured wallpaper in the bedroom.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

And then there's this:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Duchess Erin the Surprised of Giggleswick under Table
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Monday, January 8, 2007

Socks to be me...

I had a bit of an accident at my first sock class tonight....two skeins of this kind of accidentally came home with me:

Amid much confusion, and rather a lot of giggling, I learned how to do a long-tail cast-on, which leads to such comments as: "Oh gawd, I'm knitting with my tail!" - which must sound terrifically odd to a Muggle. Here is My First Sock....with more green in it than the photo shows...

I'm in love. Madly in love. Let's hope it's not one of those flash-in-the-pan flings that fizzes out at the first hint of heel-turning.

Extreme Home Makeovers



Saturday, January 6, 2007

Isn't it ironic?

Lone pedestrian, wearing bright clothes and on foot in (grumpy) effort to win Eco-Wienie Badge, comes within scant inches of being creamed by Single Occupant Vehicle...which happens to be an extremely large it pulls into a gas station.


I almost walked back to key her vehicle when she was inside paying. Sometimes believing in karma really bites.

Thankfully, that unexploded Guiness is still in the fridge. I think I'll go put it to good use.

Friday, January 5, 2007

It ain't easy being green....

This morning, Mr.Q. announced that he wanted to drive our huge, old, gas-guzzling, emissions-belching van to work. I gently reminded him that we're trying to cut down on unneccessary driving ("Think of the penguins, dear....") and he agreed. Not too reluctantly either - it IS only a 20-minute commute downtown by bus. If we lived out in the boonies still, I might buy the argument that "I can get to work in half the time." But we're trying to be eco-wienies and all that. So he took the bus. As did I.

It was snowing a bit, early this morning - some students were late with transit misadventures, but it wasn't too bad. But when I left work...well, that was a different story. It was really slushy and gusty and gross. My usual bus didn't come. After waiting 40 minutes, I decided to take another one, as far as my neighbourhood coffee shop, where a hot drink would fortify me for the 20-minute walk home.

By the time I got off the bus, the weather had worsened, and I entertained the idea of calling a cab. "But first, a coffee - maybe that will help," I thought. "After all, I don't want to be one of those wimpy wet-coasters that sees a snowflake and acts like I've seen an invasion of Killer Bees."

My mocha was tasty, and my feet warmed up, and I figured out the stitches I'd dropped knitting on the bus earlier. The weather got worse. Call a cab? Mmmmm....well. The weather was REALLY gross. But it's only a 20-minute walk home...and Mr.Q would be walking home in the same weather, to avoid how could I justify calling a cab?

I zipped up tight, pulled my hood close, opened my umbrella, and set off for home.

By the time I'd walked two blocks, my feet were soaked and I wanted to turn around and call that cab. There were 2-3 inches of slush on the ground, slush-puddles were ankle-deep, and the precipitation resembled nothing so much as, well, slush. Cold, wet slush falling from the sky, driven by a cold, wet wind. But - I'm stubborn, so onward ho!

Another 2 blocks, and the bottoms of my jeans were wet to my calves, and my thighs were starting to burn with that ever-so-fun jeans-in-cold-winter feeling.

By the time I got to the corner store, 5 blocks from home - there was more water (slush) inside my shoes than out; my jeans were no longer just damp but dripping, and wet all the way up the legs to the hem of my jacket. Not sure how my legs were - were they still there? I thought we were supposed to be worried about global WARMING, not plagues of slush!

I finally got find Mr.Q already here - he'd got a ride home, and had even called the coffee shop to see if he could come pick me up. I'm in my PJs, defrosting slowly. Before those of you subject to "real" winter mock me too mercilessly, I give you this:

Lovely weather we're having, isn't it?!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Woo hoo! Just had a bit of a knit-up with a knitting pal, always good conversation, and productive, too! I think it's just a good excuse for us to get together and giggle and talk about boys and stuff. She was in Ontario for Christmas, and made a pilgrimage for me. Since I'm taking this sock knitting class, I needed some appropriate needles, and I've been coveting some of these for some time. She picked me up a set in ebony. They're beautiful. The (wonderfully) batty lady at the yarn store in Nelson says using them is (and I quote) "like knitting with silk." What more could a girl ask for? At least, a girl who prefers textiles to sparkly things like diamonds.

(I'm not sure that the yarn habit's much cheaper....)

(And it's not like I'd turn down the diamonds...!)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

In the year 2007 I resolve to:
Learn to lick my own elbow.

Get your resolution here.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away...I wish!

It wasn't enough to wake up to MORE rain this morning, nor weather warnings and wind again. Not even enough to wake up to traffic reports of flooded roads, thus making it necessary to leave for work early, Just In Case. There's a stretch of road on my bus route, you see, that regularly floods in this kind of weather. Which can add another 10 or 15 minutes to my usual scant 20-minute ride. (Didn't happen this morning, thankfully - which meant I was downtown early enough to get a really good Americano at my favourite downtown caffeine-pusher....mmmm!)

Nope, none of that was enough. Had to come home to sopping wet carpet in my Magic Room and a minor flood in the laundry room. HOPING it's just the rain, and not some mysterious plumbing problem. Since this is the third time it's happened, and our (thankfully conscientious!) landlord has explored all possible plumbing and drainage concerns. So. I have a living room stuffed with an unpright bass and sundry other instruments; the laundry baskets are cluttering up the bedroom; and the kitty litter box is currently living in the hallway.

Insert four-letter word of your choice here. I'm sure you're at least as creative as I am with that kind of thing...and I'm afraid that if I start, I won't stop, and my poor students tomorrow morning will get more of a lesson in English idiom than they bargained for. (f*#&-ing adjectives!)

Monday, January 1, 2007

Look, Dad! No Hands!

Whew! I've just used the card-reader thingy that my Dad gave me, all by myself for the very first time. Though I accidentally deleted one of the pictures in the process...oh well! (And yes, Dad, I even remembered to do the "remove hardware safely" bit.) So. I give you the Best Christmas-Decorated House Ever:

Somebody actually took the time to build facing out of plywood for their whole house. I have no idea what they used for the "frosting" but it looks great. Which does, of course, make one wonder whether they might have too much time on their hands. But that's too cynical an attitude for this house, really. It's just freakin' COOL! It looks surprisingly realistic, and just plain fun. It lives in our neighbourhood, too. I like our neighbourhood.

I also like averted disasters, such as this:

If you look carefully, you'll see that the top of the can is distended and bent. That's because somebody put this in our freezer when we had a Christmas party (two weeks ago!) and I found it there yesterday. Thankfully unexploded. THAT would have been a big, icky mess to clean up. And a waste of a Guiness, which would be the true shame.

Our night last night was mellow and musical and lovely. The New Year was brought in well, in good company. I can't tell you about the different Chardonnays, because we (I) didn't quite get through the first bottle. It was Wild Horse Canyon, and rather nice. I'm going to spend today in my PJs relaxing, reading and maybe knitting a bit. Probably a nap with the cats will be in order. Something tasty and simple for dinner...a Mediterranean "stir fry" with zucchini, tomatoes and chick peas, and lots of cumin, I think. A limoncello-liqueur soaked cake for dessert. I think I'll leave the Christmas decorations up just one more day, squeeze every last drop out of my time off....