Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cheap wings and beer

Cat whining woke us up at some ungodly hour. Mr.Q, bless him, got up to see what was going on. Nothing. Just an empty food dish. Whiners. So he filled it, and we went back to sleep.

I woke up to the sun peeping through the blinds, and thought it would be a lovely morning to sit in my Magic Room with my journal and a cup of coffee. And right in the middle of the Magic Room was "breakfast." A wing. Joint and all.


Mr.Q has now officially more than made up for the waking-me-up-for-a-wake-up-call call. He leapt right out of bed and dealt with it for me.

Yes, I can, in fact, deal with it myself. I did, several times a week, while he was on tour last fall. When the Mighty Hunter decided that he would take over the role of the "man in the house" and provide for me. (Attempts to explain that I could really manage things myself, and he didn't have to bother, were ineffectual.) Considering that the Mighty Hunter is his cat, it seemed only fair that he take a turn while he's home. And he did, willingly and without complaint. He's so awesome.

He went back to bed, I went back to the Magic Room...and found the remains of the other wing under my chair.


Mr.Q got up again and made it all better. And now he's making coffee. (Though what I really want is a beer, or maybe some tequila, at this point!) It's nice having a resident knight in shining armour.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Nobody told me there'd be days like these...

You know, most of the time I'm really OK with not being a "traditional" girly-housewifey type. I don't own lipgloss or a curling iron; my choices in "supportive undergarments" tend toward sports bras rather than Victoria's Secret; I don't own a knife sharpener; and I honestly couldn't tell you what a good price for tomatoes is.

Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not stereotyping here. My "Princess Bride" sister can manage all of these things and more - including the best pie pastry ever - and she owns a Swiss Army knife which puts my own to shame and can whip up a duct-tape wallet in about 7 minutes flat. (Also, her house is usually much cleaner than mine, and she owns an ironing board to boot!)

And most days, I am totally fine with the fact that my skills and interests and inclinations lie elsewhere.

Most days. But every once in awhile, I feel like I'm missing something crucial. It's not that I'm feeling a crazy need for an ironing board at this point, or that I'm likely to acquire a Kitchen-Aid mixer any time soon...but I ask you:

IS there, in fact, a way to change a duvet cover without practically having to climb inside the fracking thing, or getting all tangled up in it like some kind of abstract fabric origami performance art piece?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Humpty-backed camels

The thing I love best about Wednesdays is the end of them. 'Nuff said.

So. Dinner on Sunday. Dad was here for the AccolAIDS awards banquet, having been nominated in two categories. He invited my sister and I as his dates. It was a rather frou-frou affair, and there were pantyhose and dress shoes and corsages involved. (I even wore a SKIRT, but don't let that get around!)

There is a reason my lovely sister is a Princess Bride, and my wedding involved a home-made stage decorated with a sewn-together curtain of tie-dyed thrift store table cloths. (And a red drum kit, front and centre, through the whole thing...what fun!) But I digress.

The reason she is a bona fide, blushing Princess Bride is that she actually "gets" all the girl stuff...lip liner and hair products and which shoes to wear when, and with what, and has matching Kitchen-Aid pots (which I covet). Me, I'm happy if you can't tell I haven't shaved my legs since last summer, and if I manage not to fart in public, and pay no attention to the very old IKEA cutting board. I'm OK with the differences - it makes for an interesting relationship, with fodder for gentle teasing on both sides. Besides, she's learning to knit; what's not to love?!

But when it comes to an evening such as this, I defer to her wisdom. Sort of. There was a brief lesson in the difference between handbags.

Hers: this is the perfectly lovely but not-matching handbag, good for day use:

This is the little-black-dress matching hand-bag, suitable for frou-frou banquet dinners at the Pan Pacific Hotel's Crystal Pavilion:

And, not matching my funky Value Village skirt, is this:

My knitting bag. Containing knitting. Which I didn't pull out at dinner, given that we shared our table with the head of a big PR firm, a long-time City Councillor, a Senator, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of BC and his very charming wife. (!!!!!!!!!!!!) Rather an odd mix, really, with the pack of us there, too, but it was fun. The food was good. (The lemon tart was marvellous.) The evening was celebratory and moving and well worth wearing tights for.

Dad was also carrying his little black evening bag:

"Normal" we ain't, but there aren't too many dull moments!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A party in my pant(ry)

Well, I was going to post about the fabulous night out I had with my Dad and my sister on Sunday, including the Very Important Lesson she gave us about Which Bag To Bring To A Posh Dinner....But I's too tired just at the moment, so I'll do it next time.

Meanwhile, I actually got to spend some time with Mr.Q tonight before he went out to play a show. There was a bit of a miscommunication about dinner plans - I'd said I'd make something nice for us and our houseguest; he understood it to mean the drummer that's also playing with them. And then at lunch today I realized that the drummer's girlfriend would probably also join us. I was short a (chicken) breast.

Ack! But solved by a quick call to Mr.Q with VERY clear instructions on what needed to be picked up on his way home from work. Dinner (for 5) was prepped, a pie was made by our houseguest, and then the drummer called to say he had to work late and wouldn't be able to make it after all. Doh!

Oh well - we've got very tasty lunches for work tomorrow now. Meanwhile, the guys decided that since we were all hanging out in the kitchen anyway, it was a good time for a bit of a roots-rockabilly kitchen party. So they pulled out the guitar and the upright bass and went to it, while the chicken cooked and the pie cooled on the counter, and it was just perfect!

Tomorrow, maybe, I'll post about the fancy banquet and the bags. But for now...can you smell it?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day to you...we all look like monkeys, and we're related to them, too!

Happy Earth Day! Go hug a tree!

I made up some ATCs for a Celtic knot themed swap yesterday:

And one of them is 'specially appropriate for Earth Day:

(You can't really read it, but the caption along the side reads "Step lightly on the earth.") I had oodles of fun making them; I used an old calendar from a few years ago featuring the art of Jen Delyth, a Celtic artist who does some beautiful work. Someday I'd like to get something of hers done as a tattoo...the problem will be deciding which one!

Meanwhile, the sleep adventures continue! I think there's a conspiracy. Friday morning, I woke up at 5:30 anyway. Just for the hell of it. (NOT intentionally!) Friday night I fell asleep before 10:00 - bliss! Which was of course interrupted at 10:38 by an urgent phone call from my sister (The Princess Bride). As incoherent and slightly grumpy as I was, though, I'd far rather be woken up by a knitting emergency than "I'm too drunk to figure out the alarm on my cell phone!"

(Also, as her knitting teacher, there's the pride of knowing she's such a dedicated student...and that she's fallen irrevocably down the rabbit hole. Heheheheheheh!)

Then there were funny cat noises, which required investigation, in case it was another intruder. Then there were fur ball hacks at 4:00 A.M. Then there were more at about 6:30. (The fur ball landed on a mat which needed washing anyway, thankfully! Hey - that sounds like a kid's rhyme: the cat sat and puked on the mat!)

And when I finally got up, I was greeted by a "visitor"...guess what's under this?

(No, Mom, it's NOT a piece of thread thrown cruelly into the shower, scarring me for life!) It's a BIG spider. Which, I'm proud to say, was not flushed but trapped and then liberated in the hedges outside. Mr.Q is the resident spider-hunter, in recognition of my abject, shrieking terror of the things. He's concerned about his karma, given all the critters he's killed on my behalf. So we've agreed that they can be liberated instead. But he's not home. So I had to do it myself. Spidey spent a few hours in solitary while I worked up the nerve to deal with him.

Last night I was just plain up too late. Watching the new James Bond movie. I think it's my favourite one yet. Maybe coz it was more focused on the characters and action than gadgets and special effects. Or it could just have been Daniel Craig. He can put the zip in my salsa any day! (Ooops, did I type that out loud?) Either way, it's not really sleepytime viewing. But it was fun.

I had all three cats lined up at my feet in bed last night. Not so much room for me. But I was glad of the company - usually, when Mr.Q's away, they don't sleep with me. (I had to marry him coz "my" cats like him better than me....) He's home tonight...hooray! Even though I won't really see him till Wednesday at the earliest, given our schedules through the beginning of the week...I still just like it better when he's home. (Where he can work the alarm clock himself!) (I am so going to tease him about that for awhile...I bet it's good for a week of cleaning the litterbox!)

Cute cat pic, coz there hasn't been one in awhile:

It's like they think they're the boss of us...I wonder where they get that idea!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

When the Q's away...the cats don't get much sleep!

Mr. Q's gone for the weekend - off to play a couple of shows in the interior. He flew out early this morning with a friend....The flight was so early, they decided it made more sense for him to stay over at the drummer's place after rehearsal last night, and share a cab to the airport today. So I saw him off about 6:30 last night, and toodled on downtown to my knitting meet-up.

I was a bit later than I'd anticipated - stayed out till the whopping late hour of ELEVEN O'CLOCK!!!!!!!!!! (Which, as a co-worker pointed out today, is my body clock's equivalent to about 2 A.M.) But, I wasn't too concerned. I didn't have to be up till 7:00 this morning, and I wouldn't have the fuss and bother of Mr.Q's alarm going off at 5:00, and then trying to get back to sleep while he gets ready for work at that ungodly hour.

I went to bed about 11:30, savouring the sweet notion of an uninterrupted sleep, till 7:00 even - practically sleeping in! I fell immediately into a lovely, deep sleep.

(You know where this is going, don't you?)

The phone rang at 1:23 A.M. I leapt out of bed, my mind racing. Who could be calling at this hour? What's wrong? Who was found mangled in a ditch or kidnapped or abducted by aliens or in jail and how am I going to raise bail at this hour and what will I say when I call in to work because I have to go bring a nail file in a cake to somebody....? (My imagination runneth a little amok at that hour, when startled from a sound sleep.)

It was Mr.Q. With that tone of voice particular to someone on the gherkin side of pickled, and trying really, really hard to keep it a secret. "We don't have an alarm here. Can you call me at 5:00 and wake us up?"

You've got to be frackin' kidding me!

Of course I had to say yes, though for purely selfish reasons. Otherwise I'd be up all night anyway, worried about him making his flight.

So, I set the alarm for 5:00, and when the Beatles, bless them, woke me up - I stumbled to the phone and called. To his credit, he picked up before his voicemail did. (I took grim satisfaction in knowing that my alarm is, in fact, about 5 minutes fast. So I was really waking him up at 4:55. A small difference, but knowing that "4:00" was somehow involved was satisfying, in a petty but totally guilt-free kind of way!)

I went back to bed. I suspected he'd fall asleep again, so I hit the snooze button. This time it was Neil Diamond singing me awake. And I'll confess here and now, I'm not his biggest fan. I stumbled to the phone and called again. "Hello, this is your snooze button calling."

I tried to sound chipper, or at least nice. I really did. But I suspect I sounded more like a premenstrual T.Rex on crack. (Or would that be a T.Regina?)

Thankfully, I fell back asleep without any difficulty. And truth be told, I was able to see even at the time that I'd be able to laugh at this. Later. In daylight. Someday.

I remember the "for better or for worse" part of the thing...and wool knows, we've done the "richer or poorer" - or the "poorer," anyway - I'm not holding my breath for a chance to test out the "richer" bit!...but I'm sure there was nothing about wake-up calls or alarm clocks. At FIVE frackin' A.M.!

There are reasons why I put up with it, of course. Including this:

How could I not love a man who sees that and thinks of me?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Be the change....

Warning: Serious post, lacking in wittiness, ahead!

I play around on a site called Swap-bot, where people sign up for different swaps and send each other stuff via snail mail - a real treat in this electronic age, and an interesting community to be part of. Swaps can be for anything from postcards and letters to yarn and hand-crafted pieces of art. It's also a great creative outlet! Someone hosted one a little while ago, that I'm doing, based on the Ghandi quote about "being the change you want to see in the world." Each participant chooses one thing they want to see changed in the world, and finds some small ways they can work toward making that change in their own lives. Over a 6-week period, we have to report weekly to our partners on our progress. The idea is that we have both encouragement and accountabililty at the same time. We get to be on both sides, too - as the partner who also encourages and supports someone else. And it's a great way to see just how effective "baby steps" can be, how quickly they can add up to something significant.

I've been doing it for a couple of weeks now, and it's great. I chose to explore how I could be more conscious of my impact on the environment. I know that those of you who know me well might be scratching your heads: But she's ALREADY a dang eco-wienie!

Thing is, I'm not. I try, and I succeed sometimes and I fail miserably sometimes, and I keep getting up and trying again. And yes, that counts for something. But the fact is, this fragile, lovely planet of ours is in desperate straits. And I'm not doing EVERYTHING I can. And when it comes to the idea of all hell breaking loose thanks to global warming, I find myself thinking in matter-of-fact terms of "when," not "if." And I live in one of the societies most responsible for that. So how can I not try to tweak every last one of my own choices, to do what I can to minimize that? Or at least be able to say someday that I did do everything I could?

Yes, it's expensive to eat organic food, to use natural cleaners, to wear natural fibres. It will be a lot more expensive not to, in the not-so-long run. But how do I address the changes I can/need to make, without becoming totally overwhelmed, and hiding under my bed for the rest of my life? Baby steps, of course. One thing at a time. Doing things like taking part in this swap.

I decided that I would participate by setting two or three small goals for myself every week. Every weekend, I report on my progress to my partner, as well as set goals for the next week. Today, when I was emailing her, I decided that I wanted to post them here, as well. For more encouragement, for more accountability. And at the same time, to ask you how you try to be "green" - I'm always looking for new ideas! - and to challenge you - what small steps can you take to do more?

So far, my goals set (and met!) for the last two weeks are as follows:

* Get a nightlight for the bathroom, instead of leaving the light on all night. - check!
* Set up a recycling box in my classroom, and actively encourage students to use it - check!
* If I go get a coffee while I'm at work - take my own mug instead of getting a paper cup - check!
* Look into prices for a clothes horse, so we can dry clothes outside in good weather - check! (About $25, next time we go to IKEA - but there's no way we're making a separate trip just for one!)
* Start replacing household cleaners with environmentally-friendly products - check!

Also, we've been taking the bus more on weekends and evenings, instead of driving. (We won't talk about the fact that last night was a Canucks' play-off game so there was no parking downtown anyway!)

So. The goals I'm setting for myself for the next week:

1) Research a composter - I have a vague idea that the city provides them, but no more info than that. Find out.

2) Water use - monitor ours, see what we can do to cut back. We try not to be wasteful, but I also know there are lots of little ways that we could improve.

3) Garbage bags - I know I saw some biodegradable ones at a Zellers way out in the 'burbs...there's another Zellers much closer to us, on the SkyTrain line. Go out there one day this week and see if I can find more.

4) Turn the frickin' lights off! The nightlight's great in the bathroom, and we both prefer it immensely - much less harsh on the eyes if we get up in the dark. But we have a bad habit of leaving a lot of lights on when we're home. Must stop that!

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favourite authors ever. She wrote a book of essays a few years ago,
Small Wonder. It's wonderful, and totally relevant to our lives as inhabitants of this planet. Go read it!

So...what are YOU gonna do this week?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

You Are 56% Abnormal

You are at medium risk for being a psychopath. It is somewhat likely that you have no soul.

You are at high risk for having a borderline personality. It is very likely that you are a chaotic mess.

You are at low risk for having a narcissistic personality. It is unlikely that you are in love with your own reflection.

You are at high risk for having a social phobia. It is very likely that you feel most comfortable in your mom's basement.

You are at low risk for obsessive compulsive disorder. It is unlikely that you are addicted to hand sanitizer.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Scutterbotch is Spanish for "aardvark poo"

Back in the Big City...the transition made easier by being picked up at the airport by one of my oldest (as in length of time, not age!) friends and having lunch together. We met when we were 12; survived Bon Jovi and Patrick Swayze and the worst of the '80s fashion disasters together. She was in town for the weekend; we had a few hours of overlap this afternoon and managed to indimidate the waitress with our belly laughs. Had a GREAT weekend home...beautiful weather, good visits, being able to see the stars! I have missed these oodles:

I've missed these even more:

It was really neat to be the only one home this time - there was no juggling of time with the kids; it was just me and them, which made for an excellent visit. Which I think is even more important as they get older. I love being an aunt; it's the best thing ever!

I have only one half-decent picture of the baby, as she was pretty sick all weekend, but in the interest of fairness - I can't leave her out! - here it is:

They came over for ice cream, butterscotch ripple. When they asked what kind it was, Grandad said "scutterbotch." Which I said was Spanish for "aardvark poo." Their mother thought that was pretty funny. She tried to go along with it, but she was laughing too hard. This is her face when I said it:

This was her reaction when I told her I was going to post the last picture:

I'm sure, now that I've left, those poor kids must be saying to each other: "Boy, Auntie Erin sure talks a lot about poop and farts!"

Saturday, April 7, 2007


Sunshine warming friends and coffee and knitting on the back step...

Auntie time with swingsets and sidewalk chalk and bubble-blowing (Is it possible to trap fart gas inside the bubbles? I wonder...)

Elk steak on the BBQ for dinner...


(And post #50, too...crazy!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

It was a dark and stormy night....

Mr.Q was out late last night at a show. I managed to stay up until 10:00...TEN O'CLOCK! Oh my word! I snuggled down under the covers, looking forward to a bit of reading and a bit of a sleep-in. (I didn't have to do anything for prep before class today, so I could leave a half-hour later...bliss!) I read for about half-an-hour, and started dozing off. I turned off the lamp and slipped into Neverland....

Only to be rudely awakened by a catfight. A very vigorous catfight. One that didn't quit after the first quick round of "Who's Alpha Cat Today?" One that was followed by a lot of thrashing around, and some ominous growls. WTF?

I got out of bed and looked for the cats. Two were in the hallway, looking toward the laundry room - with the cat door - in decidedly hostile and defensive poses. I ran down the hall, through something wet, and turned the laundry room light on. A small grey blur leapt for the window, missed, and came screeching by me, only to be met by the cats on guard in the hallway. Another tussle ensued, followed by frantic racing around the house.

A stray (or lost kitty) had gotten in through the cat window, and was so terrorized by my territorial companions that it couldn't get out. (That, and Singe-cat was blocking the window.) Some futile chasing of the intruder ensued. I realized that the wet stuff on the floor, which was now being tracked all around the house, was evidence that someone had literally had the piss scared out of them.

The cat got behind the dryer...and then behind the tarp closing up the hole in the wall (where the water has been coming in)....which goes under the tub in the bathroom. He got into the space under the tub - all the way back, and too cramped for a human to follow. Fuck!

I pulled the washer and dryer out, and blocked his access to further areas behind the wall. I found a lone tin of salmon in the cupboard, and drained some of the juice into a dish, which I placed near the front of the gaping hole in the wall. I closed the door and waited. I dug out the cat carrier and put a towel in it, and positioned it by the laundry room door.

I went back, quietly and slowly. He was halfway toward the front of the hole. I left and waited. I went back, quietly and slowly. He had his nose out from behind the wall. I sat down, extended my fingers, talked to him quietly. I coaxed his head out, scratched his ears. I finally got him by the scruff of the neck, and got him into the cat carrier (with nary a scratch, thank you very much!). I put the tarp up tightly, moved the washer and dryer back against the wall, and blocked up any possible entrances.

I realized I had left the dish of salmon juice under the tub. I moved the washer and dryer, took down the tarp, retrieved the dish. Then I put it all back together again. I put the cat-in-carrier into the Magic Room, brought him some food and water. Then I got dressed and went for a walk: I had seen "missing cat" posters up all over the place a few days ago, and this beastie met the description.

I walked up and down for about half an hour. There were no posters anymore. It was almost midnight, and I had a stray cat in a cage in my apartment, and three very cheesed-off resident felines. I went home, checked on him (he was very affectionate, and had downed all the food).

Then I washed the cat pee off my feet. Then I went to bed. When Mr.Q came in at 1:30, I had him take the cat outside and let him out half-way down the block...hopefully far enough away to discourage a return, but close enough that he wouldn't be lost. Then I laid awake listening for the cat door all night.

Then I worried all day at work that I would come home to find the house in shreds and this strange cat under the tub again.

It wasn't, and he wasn't. I am very tired. I am having a glass of very, very good tequila.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

When life hands you lemon-ginger...make tea!

I've been drinking Yogi Tea at work almost every day for almost 3 months. It's very tasty tea, organic, and the Lemon Ginger is great for my throat/vocal cords (important when I have to speak & project my voice for 5 hours a day!)

And only yesterday did I notice that on the tag of each tea bag, some kind of affirmation or bit of yogic wisdom is printed. I guess that shows just how much attention I pay to the details in my life! I am curious to see what tomorrow's tea bag has to say...I guess I'm back to that
S-L-O-W--D-O-W-N thing again.

Got an unexpected bit of it today - the bus broke down on the way home. Close enough that it was only a 20-minute walk home; far enough that I had time to notice the warmth of the sunshine, that the cherries are almost finished blooming, that Spring's no longer "springing," but all moved in now, letting it all hang out and making herself right at home...toothbrush in the bathroom, a drawer of her own...she'll be re-arranging the kitchen next, and that's just fine with me!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Just say no!

These are our cats:

These are our cats on drugs: