Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday - Fun Times!

A "non-instructional" day today, tacked onto the long weekend, so four days off for me! Hooray! I need it, frankly. All the madness of getting ready for our trip; the energy used over the weekend; the chaos of jumping late into a short week...I's a tired gal! So it was terrifically sweet to sleep in till 8:00 this morning, and have the day to myself while Mr.Q was at work.

As is my usual habit in the mornings, the first thing I did was make myself some coffee. I have a new, pretty coffee mug, sent to me in a "coffee craze" swap, and I thought today was the day to bring it out.

Isn't it pretty? It came with all kinds of other treats, too - some candies and flavoured sugars and stuff.

Being my Day Off, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to enhance my morning java experience with a liberal shot of Bailey's.

I'm told the chopstick is essential for maximizing the experience. I'm not sure why, exactly, but it was a fine cuppa!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Roadkill cafe...

Whew! Well, it's strange to be back in the city, after a few quiet days in the Rockies. (Quiet! Hah!) The title of today's post refers both to all the poor squashed critters we saw on the road to and from...and the dead (smelly!) mouse behind the computer desk that was waiting for us when we got home...eeeeeew!

Anyway - a beautiful weekend was had! (Warning: many, many pictures below...) The weather was hot and sunny and perfect. (And dry. I should have had more water and less coffee and alchohol...oops!) The drive out featured the adventures of the Hungry Caterpillar Sock Puppet, loving the sunroof:

We drove as far as Grand Forks on Wednesday, where we stayed the night. Thursday lunchtime we got into Cranbrook and went right to my sister's new (big!) house, where the kidlets showed us the new babies:

The wedding rehearsal on Friday went well, and the BBQ dinner following was tasty and busy and crowded, what with all the groom's family joining our mob. It was kind of fun getting bowled over from hugs on one hand by my 3 nieces, and then by 4 of my aunts. Not to mention the uncles that came to the party, too! It was kind of like being in a sandwich. With a lot of short people. (If any of them are reading and want to know why no pics of them: I feel odd posting pictures of people on the internet without their permission...since I didn't ask youse: I emailed some to you all!)

Since Grandma couldn't come, she sent presents for the kids:

And cookies, too!

Finally, the Big the St.Eugene Mission Resort (you have to go to their site to see photos of the mountains - even having grown up in the area, I was wandering around stunned by the setting. You can imagine the slack-jawed amazement of those who'd never been to Cranbrook!)

The weather was perfect - sunny with enough of a breeze to take the edge off the heat. Baby Sis and I sang together and did a decent job of it, considering I was fighting a cough and nearly choked a couple of times.

But the flower girls were adorable, the ring bearer dashing, and the Princess Bride, of course, was beautiful. The ceremony was performed by an old friend of hers who has since become a minister; our brother read a blessing; the couple was framed by huge trees against a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

When the bride was finally kissed, she and the groom were serenaded into married life by a song carefully chosen by Baby Sis and I, from a suggestion made by the groom some months earlier.

"Wild Thing."

The Happy Couple had no idea we'd be singing it. The looks on their faces were priceless!

The photo session followed, of course. It was a lot of fun to watch. I can't wait to see the photos. Here's one of the Princess Bride and our parents:

Then, under the tent, a presentation of traditional dances by some of the Ktunaxa Dancers...very, very cool. Since we were on their traditional land, it was fitting, and quite powerful to witness. Of all the dances they did, my favourite was the "couples dance" - they had the newlyweds join them in a dance.

Then, dinner...then, dancing! It was pretty amazing to watch Dad dance with The Princess Bride, since just about this time last year he had a pretty serious stroke, and to have him here at all, let alone able to dance...well, 'nuff said. If you really want all the sappy details, go look at the lyrics to the song they danced to....then imagine just how composed we all weren't!

Then - the hamster dance!

Followed by much, much more dancing and celebrating and laughing and hugging and all the good stuff that should happen at these events. When it finally wound down at the civilized hour of midnight, Mom took a bunch of us to the casino to show us how to play the slot machines. I promptly lost $10, my limit, and I wandered around watching the rest of the gang. My brother won big, as evidenced by his expression here, as he polishes his jackpot:

A closer look at the big winnings:

Yessiree - he came out ahead by One Whole Loonie! (Which is a damned sight better than the rest of us did, so I shan't mock him too much, nor point out that I refrained from posting that picture I took of him putting sunscreen on his thinning hairline for the first time ever...!)

Sunday we had a bit of a chance to wind down and visit a little:

The weekend culminated in a long, late, animated discussion with my sister and brother-in-law, our Crazy Uncle From the States (self-named, I'll add!) and an entire wheel of brie being baked with jam and devoured. Not nearly as early a night as I'd hoped, before getting up at dawn for a long, long drive...but too much fun to cut short.

After all of it (and not nearly enough rest, frankly!) I was a leetle grumpy getting up for work today. But I did, and it's a short week anyway, so I can get through two more days before the next long weekend. I came home to find that Mr.Q had ordered pizza, and there was some friendly mail for me, and the dead mouse smell was almost gone, and things are gonna be just fine.

Now I have to go put up a picture-postcard of a golden retriever over my bed, just under my dream-catcher. (really, go read those lyrics!)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Let the games begin!

So...a moment of calm amidst the storm...sitting at my parents' with a cup of coffee (liberally laced with Baileys, thank GAWD!) before running out to do more errands before going out to the rehearsal for the Princess Bride's wedding, before the rehearsal dinner with about a million people...

We had a good drive out here - the weather was gorgeous, and the drive through the mountains was stunning. I have some pics, but since my camera's at my (other) sister's place - well, they'll have to wait!

Abruptly upon arriving yesterday, the madness started. So far there have been maulings and cuddles by small kidlets, new kittens to admire, babysitting while their mother went to the emergency room for stitches - cut her finger while cutting the fabric for the ring-bearer's pillow - hemming of pants for an 8-year-old imp, potty training issues (thankfully she JUST missed my shoes!), mosquito bites, no sugar for coffee, not enough sleep, a morning of Tickle Camel adventures (thankfully Mr.Q is on duty for that one! I get too tired just watching!), about eleventy hundred loads of children's laundry, trying to find time (and space!) to practice the songs Baby Sis & I are singing tomorrow - and not nearly enough Strongbow!

And that doesn't even include the naked child having divested herself of her poopy diaper and then running around the house stating firmly: "Messy. Messy."

Thankfully her mother was home by then. I promptly locked myself in the bathroom until it was all gone.

So far - I figure, about par for the course, for a big family event!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Italian milkmen?

Yesterday, my mother insisted that there is no Italian blood in my veins whatsoever, not a teeny-tiny drop. It's not that I don't believe her; it's that the margherita pizza I had for lunch yesterday (brick-oven-baked, thin chewy crust, sooooooo much mozzarella) satisfied an appetite that went far beyond just "lunch" - or even "my ancestors are Irish so I must eat potatoes and drink beer."

It's not that I don't like potatoes or beer. Quite the opposite, in fact. It's just that I think I loved that pizza even more.

Meanwhile - a sock!

I love it. I can't believe how quickly it knit up. I'm not 100% thrilled with the gusset decreases on one side - I think I wasn't paying attention and purled where I should have knit, and they're all twisted and gimpy. I didn't notice it, really, till I was more than half-way done the foot. I wasn't sure what to do about it - leave it? Rip it out? Kick anyone who was close enough to notice it and say anything? (Coz they'd have to be right down at foot level anyway....)

It doesn't look that bad, but I know it's there and it bugs me a little. Then again, I knit it up thinking of my old Puck cat - and I guess the sock's not unlike him: soft, lovely, cozy, cuddly, and a bit gimpy. So I think I'll leave it. Knitting it out of "Puck's Mischief" was an obvious didn't occur to me until last night that the pattern I used was also appropriate: Kat's Front Cabled Socks.

I'm all excited to start the second sock today, though I'm already thinking ahead to the next project...I think socks out of Titania would be a natural progression! Mr.Q played the part of a swift and helped me wind the skein of Titania this morning. I can't wait to play with it!

I didn't have lots of help - knitting or otherwise - from this:

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Turns out there is such a thing as too many artichokes....who knew?!

Well, we didn't make it for cheesecake last night. I had picked myself up a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat, Pray, Love" yesterday - a travelogue of sorts, about her adventures over a year in Italy, India & Indonesia. I read it last year, and when it came out in paperback, I had to get it. I 'spect it'll be one of those books I re-read every year or so.

Anyway, last night all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and read about her Italian experiences. Which lasted for about 65 pages, when she started talking about the tomatoes and asparagus she ate for dinner one night. At which point I leapt out of bed, careened into the living room, and announced to Mr.Q that we had to go find an Italian restaurant NOW, this VERY MINUTE, or my life would no longer be worth living.

We ended up at Martinis, on Broadway - not quite Italian, more catch-all Mediterranean, but it served the purpose. While we waited for a table, I had a fabulous martini - a "Lemon Drop" - Absolut Citron & cointreau. I now know I must have a martini shaker for my very own self, or my life may no longer be worth living.

We didn't have to wait too long for a table. I had a fabulous penne with tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, olives and artichoke hearts. And a tomato-artichoke-feta side salad. Mmmmmmmm! It was almost enough to scratch the itch. But not quite. A finishing touch was required. Hmmm. What to do?

Why, gelato, of course! At this gelateria, La Casa Gelato, in East Van that I'd never been to before (shocking!) though I'd long known its reputation as one of the best places in town for gelato. 218 flavours on hand at any given time. I tried a sample of the lemon-mint (delicious, but too tart after that savoury, pungent meal) - passed up a chance to try the cranberry-rosemary, which I regretted - tried the garlic gelato, just to say I had (thank goodness I can now cross that off my list of things to say I've done...eew!) - finally settled on chocolate-ginger....Yumminess in a waffle cone!

All these spontaneous date nights are getting to be a habit. I think I could get used to it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Never met I Friday I didn't like...

Yay for Fridays! This will be a weekend full of chores and other housekeeping fun times. Since we leave on Wednesday for the Princess Bride's pending nuptials...and the landlord's lovely youngest daughter will be looking after the beasties. So of course the house has to be clean before I can give her run of the place. Hopefully I'll still get a bit of knitting and reading time in, both...starting to see the end of the first Puck's Mischief sock in sight, I can't wait to wear it! I'll post a photo when it's a little further along, but I am totally in love with the colourway. And how much faster it knits up than Mr.Q's socks did!

I've been trying to find a new knitting bag to take with me next week - one that doesn't look like either a diaper bag, or one of those black bomb-shell purses from the '80s. (Why are the '80s fashions coming back into style at all?) Something sturdy and functional that I can take to the wedding, that won't quite look like it's really a knitting bag. So my mother doesn't make too much fun of me!

Meanwhile, I started teaching my private English student how to knit just over two weeks ago, and she's completed two fine dishcloths already - she gave me her first one, which I thought was sweet! She just emailed me - she picked up some yarn for her first hat but couldn't find the 10mm DPNs she needs for it....I'm curious to see just how chunky this yarn is! And how quickly she finishes her hat...she's definitely fallen down the rabbit hole, as it were. Mwah hah hah hah! Taking over the world, one stitch at a time!

If we had cable, this wouldn't happen to me. Instead, I'd be sucked down the vortex of endless CSI re-runs. (I originally typed "re-ruins" - which in the case of the Miami version of the show, is pretty accurate!) I think I'd rather knit.

Trying to decide whether to go out for cheesecake tonight, or get a handle on the continuously erupting Mt.Laundry.

Why is this even a question?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sunday, Sunday, so good to me....

I slept a lot better on Saturday night than I expected to, and woke up around 7:30. Rabbitch was still asleep (Wenchlette had to leave at 5:00 to get the first ferry, to be at work at that's hardcore!) I checked email, called home, just enjoyed a bit of quiet time after the madness and excitement of Saturday. I checked on Rabbitch about 8:30, and she was up and moving. Being Sunday, we figured we ought to go to church...if you understand "church" to mean "somewhere where one can acquire and savour the holy sacrament of coffee."

We found a fine place of worship, as evidenced by Rabbitch's saintly demeanor:

My own cup was more reasonably sized, though since it contained espresso, was no less potent and life-giving. Or, at least, consciousness-giving. Then we met up with J & her pal to find some cheap breakfast. The Honeybee was just the place - clean, bright, with greasy-spoon prices and very, very tasty hashbrowns. And more coffee.

A return trip to the yarn store was in order before we hit the ferry. We had spent a couple of blissful hours in the Beehive the day before. (Does anyone else think the bee theme is maybe a sign?) They were awesome with organizing the tickets for the Harlot's appearance, and also had a sale on for the weekend. Oops! I had a little accident (though not as large as feared!) and some of this sort of found its way home with me:

It is, of course, much prettier in person, and soooooo soft. I'm not normally a big fan of mohair, but this isn't really fuzzy and it's such a scrumptious colour. And sooooooo soft (I really can't say that enough!) I 'spect it will make me a beautiful lace stole someday in the not-too-distant future. (It's just a question of whether I'll get sucked in by the Kid Silk first, or the temptation of the Eris pullover which I saw in person - or, on a person! - on Saturday...must have it, my preciousssssss!)

Anyhoo, J wanted to go back to the store on Sunday to see if she still needed the fabulous yarn she had seen the day before. (She did. Of course.) On the way down the street, I noticed something odd:

The Beehive Wool Shop is located in the old Masonic building. Coincidence? I think not. For all of the conspiracy theorists out there - the answer to the Illuminati is (obviously!) knitting. Knitters (or at least, our yarn!) will take over and save the world. It's starting right here!

Finally, our feets and finances exhausted, we made our way to the ferry, glad to be heading home. J was super-thrilled with her new wrap-in-waiting:

Imagine how much cozier it will be once it's actually knit up! (And since I've got the ball winder, I'll get to fondle it when the time comes...whee!) For the record, J was our trip-planner, map-navigator, driver and picker-upper extraordinaire. If we'd had to do that trip on transit, it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun...thanks, sweetie!

The interminable rain cleared, and Rabbitch and I went on deck to take sock pictures. There was the brief obligatory moment of pirate-speak. We got a couple funny looks, but after knitting in public all weekend, they hardly fazed me.

The wind up front was pretty stiff, so my first picture was of a wind sock:

Then we found a calmer, sunnier spot...the sock and I enjoying the view:

And the sock gets its own moment in the sun:

Finally got home, ordered pizza for dinner, and fell into a much-needed sleep by 7:30. I think it won't be much later than that tonight, too! Must be a hangover from all the yarn fumes...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

"Put your stick through the cowgirl's legs..." and other Harlotty adventures

Whew! I's seriously tired. But it's too late in the day for a nap and too early to go to bed, and of course I want to post about my weekend while it's still fresh. I think I'm going to have to split this up - one post today, about Saturday; and another one tomorrow with some pics of our trip home this morning.

So...Saturday morning, I got up shortly after dawn to help collect our posse for the roadtrip. We hit the ferry with minutes to spare - thank goodness for the reservations that J, our trusty wrangler and transport manager, had made. Getting out of the car on the ferry, we had to wonder whether this elevator was a sign of some kind:

Hoping it wasn't a portent, we hooked up with the other meet-up members on our own wee "knitting cruise":

The looks we got from other passengers were highly entertaining. The best was from the little old ladies that would pause in front of each of us, to inspect our work. It was like we were some kind of performance art installation or something.

Upon arriving in Victoria, Rabbitch, Wenchlette & I check into our hostel, which Rabbitch immediately dubbed the "hostile"

You have to admit, that's not a happy bunny. At least she got a bottom bunk. I got a top bunk. That was fun, getting up to pee in the middle of the night!

We then went in search of lunch, which we discovered in an Irish pub with the most amazing bacon-brie burgers....mmmmm! We proceeded to freak out the waitress by all knitting and taking pictures. Since it was International Knit in Public Day, it seemed appropriate.

J's first sock-in-progress:

On the street outside, the best busker ever:

Finally, it was time to head to the venue. Do we look the least bit excited?

We were, in fact the first ones there. With a lot of time to wait before we could go in. Of course, we filled that time in the best way possible! Wenchlette shows off her new nose cone:

Finally, the very nice organizers let us (and the dozens of other super-early-birds) into the auditorium early. Since the Yarn Harlot is something of a rock star in the knitting world, I thought I should get into the mood:

As the excitement built, lots of bloggers were taking pictures of other people blogging. People were fondling each others' knitwear in a manner that would be totally inappropriate anywhere else, but here - why, that was totally fine, of course! Wenchlette, J & I take simultaneous self-portraits:

I think the best part of the "pre-show" was the tall, tall man from near Jackson, Mississippi getting on the stage to ask us all to hold up our knitting so he could take pictures of the crowd for his wife. They were in port on a cruise, and being able to make this event was totally the highlight of the trip for her. I don't know what we were more impressed with: her luck (what timing!) or his good-natured enthusiasm on her behalf.

Oh, and there was the big, burly man all in black, wearing a cap with skulls around the border, and a long scraggly goatee looking for all the world like a Hell's Angel. Knitting. And not just any knitting - but bright yellow and pink fun fur. I damn near peed myself giggling. He had the biggest grin on his face, and was obviously having a gas.

Finally....the moment we were all waiting for!

No, she's not actually praying or invoking the knitting goddesses. I forget exactly what she was talking about at the moment, but it was a great pose. Also, of course, the sock-and-knitters picture:

My own sock-and-Harlot picture:

After a talk that was funny, thought-provoking, inspiring, and funny again (go dig around on YouTube if you want some highlights - there are posts from some of her other events this spring) there was, of course, the book signing. I got to hold The Sock!

She even rubbed The Sock on my sock, to spread some Knitting Mojo. Whee!

Waiting in line for everyone else to get their books signed:

Wenchlette shows off the progress of her new toe-up pink socks, which started as an skein being wound on the ferry that morning:

The pic doesn't do the colour justice. It was dyed by Rabbitch, who's starting to sell her stuff online.

Finally, after all the book-signing and stuff was done, we went to join a throng of other knitters at the Canoe Club (great microbrew!) Talk about freaking out the muggles! It was a lot of fun.

There were 3 guys at a table next to all of us (we took up about 4 tables...maybe 20 or more of us?) They were a little weirded out by the whole scene, but good-natured and willing to have a little fun. The Yarn Harlot eventually showed up for a well-earned refreshment, and these guys led the applause upon her entrance. Which encouraged all the newly-arrived knitters to make themselves at home at their table. Which culminated in an impromptu knitting session for the bolder one of the trio.

He was a little perplexed at first (I'm sure his intoxication didn't help!) but the Harlot explained the steps patiently: "Put your stick between the cowgirl's legs, and make a loop..." He caught on pretty quickly after that.

He proudly announced to us that he was a knitting virgin. I said, "No, you're not. You've just had your cherry popped, with the willing participation of dozens of knitters....lucky guy!" He grinned like a kid who had just been given his own cookie jar full of chocolate goodness, and toasted knitting. A night to remember!

We finally got back to the hostel about 1:00 A.M. and slept pretty well despite the rowdies at the bars outside.

Whew again! That doesn't even include the trip to the yarn store and my new lovelies...or the trip home which was the perfect ending. Tomorrow!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Victoria...I think you've got my yarn now! (yarn now)

'K, you really have to imagine the title sung as Laura Branigan's "Gloria." Guzzling coffee - don't forget toothbrush - out the door to pick up other crazy it strange to be referring to the ferry ride as a "knitting cruise"?

Gotta run...will update tomorrow!


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Tequila is my friend.

Proof that I don't just talk about knitting. (There are actually two socks, but the photo of the pair together showed just how much cat hair is on that floor. No need to make that public!)

I made him promise he'd trim his toenails whenever he wears them. Next time I'll use heavier yarn and bigger needles. I had this charming notion, when I started them, that it would be lovely to wrap Mr.Q's feet in socks in which every stitch was knit with love. By the time I got to the second sock, every stitch was knit with endurance. Toward the end, most were knit trying not to swear out loud in public while I gritted my teeth. But I stuck it out. For better or worse. Kinda like marriage, I guess.


A shitty day. Literally.

I could go into a long rant about my week at work...the chaos from the move, the disorganization of certain key people, the ridiculous workplace politics....but I won't. It would bore both of us. But was, well, shitty. As in, while FINALLY leaving the school and walking to the bus, a seagull dropped a load down my back. ON my shirt, thankfully, not down it.

Ask me how much fun the bus ride was.

Ask me how good this glass of tequila tastes!

And you can imagine why this seems like such a great idea to me at the moment....

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Blarg, not blog

I'd love to put up a big long post. I have a loverly new sock on the needles (with the Puck's Mischief, of course!); pics of Mr.Q's feet in his new socks; impending Harlotry to be excited about; and an amusing little tale of a decapitated mouse.

I'm also having a flare-up of tendinitis, which means I can type OR I can knit, but not both. After doing neither for 4 days to give my hands a rest...guess which one I'm choosing. (And Mr.Q will tell you just how charming I was toward the end of that little stint of cold-turkey not-knitting! Sheesh. You'd think it was addictive or something...oh, wait. Right. Never mind.)

'K, so...later!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Global warming, my foot!

My hot, sweaty foot, that is. Or, feet. How is it that it's only 7:30, and my feet are already sweating?! (At least I just had a shower a half-hour ago, so they don't smell. Yet.) Oy. Yesterday the thermometer outside my classroom read 27 degrees. With the air conditioning on. Maybe I need to find a clothing-optional school to work at for the summer, if it's already this hot!