Friday, July 27, 2007

(Insert Clever Title Here)

I finished Harry Potter in two evenings...and am feeling quite self-righteous (and if I'm really honest, a little disappointed!) that I didn't call in sick on Tuesday in order to finish the book. I am rewarding myself by re-reading it, since I tore through it so quickly that I'm sure I missed a lot of important stuff. Thankfully, one of my co-workers has just finished it, so we can talk about it with each other. Quietly and cryptically, so as to avoid giving anything away!

This weekend, Mr.Q's away for some shows in Gibsons, for their Sea Cavalcade festival. He was a little sad that I couldn't come with him, but someone needed to stay home and monitor the cats (who are doing much better, thanks, but still need an eye kept on them, so that I'll feel confident leaving them with a cat-sitter when we go away for ten days next week.) So...I'm going to take advantage of a weekend flying solo! Go get my hair done, do a little shopping, maybe catch the fireworks downtown tomorrow night.

As lovely as a sunny weekend on the Sunshine Coast would be, listening to music and looking at boats and hunting for rocks...A weekend to myself is infinitely more appealing at this point! I love my job, I do, but being "on" for people all the time can be just the teensiest bit draining. And the prospect of a couple days to myself to recharge is just divine.

I think I shall go start by excavating that last "saved-for-a-special-occasion" Strongbow cider that's hidden at the back of the fridge. And then go back to Harry!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Again with the not-knitting!

The forecast calls for an absence of knitting over the next fews days, and a low-stash-awareness front holding off any likelihood of change until at least the weekend.

Ladies and gents, Harry Potter is on his way over right this very minute! Friends of ours picked up not one but TWO copies of the new book - they couldn't agree on who would get to read it first - and one is finished already. And here I am, supposedly going to bed early coz I'm sick. Hah!

I've been trying valiantly to avoid any media coverage, reviews, blog posts about the book, to stay away from spoilers. But now that I'm moments away from having the book in my hot little hands...I wonder just how long I can hold off opening it to the last page?

In honour of the event:

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!


Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."

Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific Harry Potter Quiz ever created.

Get Sorted Now!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Look Ma! No Knitting!

My "baby" brother is 22 today...Happy Birthday, kiddo! My sister (formerly known as the Princess Bride) and I wanted to have a wee party for him. The fact that he lives in Canmore and we live on the West Coast was no deterrent. Besides, we had to help break in their new fire hydrant. So Mr.Q & I trekked out to Langley last night, where we had beer and hot dogs and wore party hats and got the puppy all hyper. Tons of fun!

The guys filled the fire hydrant about half-full with a LOT of Corona:

And finished it off in remarkably short order:

A group photo with the "birthday boy":

And, the birthday boy, closer up:

"Uncle" Quimby with the puppy (she's about half the size of our cats, and has about 10 times the energy of all three combined!)

She really liked his pony tail, and kept trying to bite it and wrestle with it.

After a delicious dinner, there was an enourmous fruit salad, with whipped cream. From a can. Which comes with a certain protocol.

Sis handled her mouthful a lot better than Mr.Q did. She made a rather astute observation about that fact, having to do with girls being better at swallowing...ahem! The blush on Mr.Q's face when she said as much was worth every bit of whipped cream that I inhaled laughing at it. I swear, if we'd giggled any harder, a little bit of pee would have come out!

(C - you're welcome for not posting the picture of you "smoking" the lighted hot-dog!)

We stayed over, and Sis made us a loverly breakfast before we headed home. We picked up some Fireweed honey ("the champagne of honeys!") at the Honeybee Centre on the way to the Sky Train. And to make the weekend perfect, we were even greeted by the sight of NO cat puke when we got home!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hail, Hail, Rock & Roll! (Or, How to Impress a Group of Mexicans) (Or, Why am I Awake Already?!)

Quietly, please, and keep the lights off already! It was a late, late night last night. Late enough that Bagheera got today's morning dose of medication when we got home. Blarg. But - was it fun? Oh my, yes!

The school pub night was great. It's amazing how astonished & impressed the students are to find that their teachers a) go out in public, and b) drink. I spent most of the time hanging out with a bunch of the Mexicans, since their agent from Oaxaca was visiting and, it turns out, is a former student of mine. He's a really nice, funny guy, and I spent most of my evening there catching up with him. I had a shot of tequila before I left, and my goodness but they thought that was cool! It was decent tequila, and I like the stuff anyway, so it went down rather nicely...Guess they aren't used to gringas doing that kind of thing, at least not without lots of sputtering and coughing and grimacing...Also, I didn't realize that most of them were watching me, I thought I was being sort of discreet. Anyway, it got quite a cheer. I'm not sure if I felt pretty cool, or pretty embarrassed. Both, I guess - but it was funny. Let's see how much I get ribbed about it on Monday!

Then over the bridge to Granville Island to watch Mr.Q's band play. I had some company, which was fun. Usually I get to sit alone while they play, trying to obviously look like I'm With The Band. But not this time! One of the teachers from work came out, and so did Trouble. Who was pretty tame, and wore no panties on her head at any point. Whether the bruise on her arm resembled a country is up for discussion; she says Japan, I say more like one of the Baltic states.

There was some mighty fine rock & roll blasted out by all three of the bands. My ears are still ringing a little, but it was well worth it to see Mr.Q in his full Viking Rock God glory:

(Again with the nimble fingers...mmm!)

There was beer, and more beer. And Saint Rabbitch either virtuously denying all knowledge of how her glass came to be empty, or praying for more. You be the judge:

Since her glass filled up again pretty quickly, I'm going with the latter. The photographic evidence:

(You didn't think I'd go a whole post without knitting, did you?!) We worked on washcloths for her WISH drive (for details, see her July 10 post). The knitting also enjoyed the show:

Now all the blog needs to be complete is more mention of cats...which I'll refrain from doing at any length, since it would be a litany of veterinary woes, what with Bagheera still puking, and now Singe with a gummed-up, inflamed eye (He goes to the vet today, and it's Mr.Q's turn to make the trip...aargh!)

I'm gonna see if I can get back to sleep, I have NO idea why I'm up at this ungodly hour! And there's no cream for coffee - criminal! 'K, bye!

(P.S. - this is my 100th post already - craziness! Yay!)

(P.P.S. - why is Blogger so stupid with the spaces between the paragraphs?)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Haven't you always wanted a monkey?

Whee! This time away from the Mystery Stole has been productive...enough that I'm itchy to get back to the lace again, a good sign!

First, a pic of Jel at a meet-up last week, with her not-then-finished sock (I believe she's wearing her finished First Pair today - yay Jel!)

Next, my in-progess first Monkey sock, in the Titania colourway from Blue Moon. It's a little crazier than I was expecting, and I love it...

I'm gonna have the shexiest feets this winter. Tomorrow: a big night! A school pub night, which is always fun. And then Mr.Q's band is playing at the Backstage Lounge. Which would be enough fun on it's own, but I's gonna have some crazy knitting fun while I'm at it. Heh! Knitting, beer, and rock'n'roll. I'll have to remember to bring a washcloth to work on, and my head lamp.

Last but not least, a Very Dignified Laundry Fairy:

Otherwise known lately as Puke-a-saurus Cat...he goes back to the vet tomorrow for another look-see. Happy thoughts would be much appreciated!

But for now - dinnertime - raisin bran with fresh blueberries. Quick, easy, and very few dishes. Perfect!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


How is it already Wednesday again? How is it past the middle of July already? Eeek.

It's raining here today, and in the continued absence of air conditioning, it's a blessing! I'm going to do my best to remember this in the dead of next winter. We'll see how successful I am.

Lace interesting. Turns out you need to be able to count to do it well. Turns out there's a reason I teach English and not math! It's not that I can't count, it's that I get so easily distracted by other things...."57, 58, 59...oooh! Shiny! Now where was I? Drat!" Add a few yarn-overs and strange decreases to the mix, and it's a disaster-in-the-making. But still fun!

Except...I'm not sure it's going to be wide enough, even with a good stern blocking. I've put it aside for a few days while I make up my mind about it - I don't want to keep going if I'm not going to be happy with it and I'm going to start it all over again anyway.'s tucked away for a couple of days while I decide what to do.

(Secretly, it's not so much the size that's the issue, as it is the fact that it's just not blue. How pathetic is that? No, don't answer that!)

Meanwhile, I've got another pair of socks on the go - will post a pic when there's more go show. For to bed! (After just one more row....)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Yesterday, I was asked a profound question by Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless (but you know who you are!). "I'm enjoying your blogs," she said, "But I have to ask: isn't there more to life than knitting and cats?"

After my first disbelieving gasp, I thought maybe I'd consider the question in the cool light of reason. So.

#1) Cats: Is there more to life than cats? (Why, no!) There has been a little more energy than usual attached to the beasties this last week, as one of them has been afflicted with a mysterious stomach ailment. Which has resulted in nightly vomiting, and mornings stumbling bleary-eyed out of bed trying to avoid stepping in the results. YUCK! A visit to the vet and some kitty-gravol seem to have helped. We'll see when he's done his round of medication. Meanwhile, a little extra TLC seems in order, both for the invalid and, in the interest of fairness, the other two.

#2) Knitting: Is there more to life than knitting? Well, yes, there is - so much more! There's fondling balls (of yarn); S.E.X. (Stash Enhancing eXpeditions - a.k.a. buying yarn); there's planning new projects, admiring finished projects, inquiring after friends' projects, teaching my ESL student to knit, meeting friends for coffee to knit or discuss knitting, checking out knit-a-long message boards, tinking, frogging, re-knitting....even, when I don't want to knit, taking out my bins of yarn and looking at all the pretty colours and seeing if any of them speak to me just yet and whether I can bear to knit it up or if that particular skein is just for loving always in its unknit state...

And while all of that is enough fun to keep me entertained for hours and hours (we don't have cable, FYI)...what really keeps me at it is the community of knitters, off- and on-line, both. There's the knitting meet-up in town, where I get to meet cool women I wouldn't otherwise encounter. In the Blogiverse: Somebody's doing a hat drive for their local shelters, or for kids in Mongolia, or fundraising for another knitter's husband, newly-diagnosed with a nearly-always-terminal cancer. Somebody's cat has passed on, and condolences can be sent. Somebody else's cat has re-appeared after an absence of several months, and is in critical condition - more good energy sent out. Somebody's completed a project, yarn-ish or otherwise, that has challenged them and is dear to their hearts, or got married, or become an uncle for the first time - congratulations are in order! A couple of the cool knitters I now know in person, I have "met" through blogs, so it's not just a bunch of computer geeks unwilling to leave their houses. For all that a lot of the interaction takes place on-line, it really is a community, with a lot of sharing and generousity and support. It's a very cool example of a good thing that's come out of all this new communication technology - but that's a whole other post!

And frankly, there's the fun I have knitting-in-public, especially at a pub. The confusion it causes people to see someone knitting, With Beer! And Rock Music! Oh my! (Also, there's the personal safety thing - I have sharp pointy sticks at hand at all times, and I know how to use them!)

How's that for a long-winded answer?! Now it's back to the cats, since the puke-a-saurus has just upchucked between me and my brewing coffee...what fun!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Last night I finished the first chart of the Mystery Stole's first clue...50 of 100 rows done, which would be more exciting except, because of all the increases to come, it's just about 1/3 of the first clue...oy! I think the best thing about trying lace this way is that it's in pieces, I can't see (and be overwhelmed by!) the big picture. I 'spect I'd be too intimidated to try, if that were the case!

Meanwhile, it's supposed to get HOT today...let's hope the on-again-off-again A/C is on again. (It was sort of on yesterday, thankfully!) You know it's hot when the students from Saudi Arabia are complaining about it!

I should really quit stalling and get ready for work. I'm not-so-subconsciously thinking that a blog post will eat up the time I'd set aside for ironing this morning...oops! Look at the clock! Guess I'll have to go un-ironed. (It's linen, anyway, so it's not like you'll be able to tell, with all the wrinkles it'll have after wearing it for 5 minutes.)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Yar, matey!

Yesterday I had a far better yarn store experience when I went needle-hunting. I ended up at 3 Bags Full, where they found me the needles I wanted. They didn't look at me like I was nuts when I explained that yes, I really did want bamboo needles to knit lace; yes, I knew what the problems were, but I had my reasons; I would sharpen the points myself and be careful with the join, and see just how well I could muddle along.

Instead, Francesca pulled out her own edition of the Mystery Stole, and gave me lots and lots of tips, as well as some of her magic chart-highlighting-tape. And told me to come back if I needed any help, which she totally didn't have to offer, since I didn't buy the yarn at her store.

I did pick up some other yarn, though (which she offered, unasked, to wind for me! Take that, Other Yarn Store!) I couldn't resist when I saw the name: "Black Purl." Not only does it tickle my funny bone, but it means that all the time I spend knitting with it, I'll be reminded of Johnny Depp, and that's always a good thing! Besides, it's awfully pretty:

Also, note that it's actually not blue. I'm making a real effort to try to branch out into other colours. (But there were so many pretty, pretty blues...)

I started the first part of the first chart of the Mystery Stole this morning. It took me about 2 hours to do the first 15 rows (4 times!) but I think I finally have the hang of it. As long as I go really, really slowly; as long as no-one speaks to me at all while I'm knitting; and as long as I say the stitches out loud as I go. A total of about 3 hours of work today got me this far:

It's pretty close to scale, which is a little scary! But it's real, live lace, knit up by my very own wee fingies. Wahoo! I made a trip out for dental floss, and put in the first of many lifelines, Just In Case. My brain hurts, and I LOVE IT. It's magic. Very, very slow magic, but magic all the same.

To keep me sane, I also cast on a simpler project to give my brain a bit of down time. Another pair of socks, in Rabbitworks' No Mean Feets.

(Because I can't stay away from blue entirely, can I?) I love how the blues are knitting up next to each other. I love that knitting (plain & simple!) socks is now "easy knitting" for me...I would never have guessed it would happen! It gives me hope for the stole, and for that eventual sweater....whee!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

In over my head, but the water's fine!

I woke up yesterday thinking perhaps I'd better pass on this knit-a-long thing...I haven't knit lace before, I don't know how to read a chart, I'd have to find the yarn, it's not knitting I can do "socially" since there's no way I'll be able to talk & knit on this...etc. etc. I had all kinds of good reasons! Then I had just one more look at the messages in the group....(oh, and there was that tiny matter of Rebecca's encouraging comment the other day - thanks, I think!)

And I jumped in. Jel and I spent most of yesterday afternoon on a mission to find me some lace yarn. Here she is, in the wilds of North Vancouver, an intrepid explorer sighting land, I mean, yarn:

Unfortunately, it was the wrong yarn. So we went to another store - no lace-weight for me, but she found some funky sock yarn. It actually did speak to her! I heard it my own self. It was pretty weird-but-cool.

Well. What to do? We're heading into rush hour, we're still on the north it a day, or try one more?

Try one more, of course! So a long, long wait to get onto the Lions Gate, rewarded with a view of summer. Doesn't the water look nice and cool?

We made our way toward UBC, where I actually had a bad yarn store experience. Or at least, an uncomfortable one. Granted, I was hot, tired, and hungry...but even taking that into account, the customer service at Urban Yarns leaves a lot to be desired. Enough that, as excited as I was to see their Lantern Moon needles, and Fleece Artist and all the other pretty yarns...I would likely try to mail order from the Beehive in Victoria before I went back to UY.

Jel was a life-saver, though. After they left me alone to try to wind my (expensive!) skein of lace-weight, using a swift set up in a bookshelf without enough room to open all the way, and a ball winder set up too high on the same shelf to be remotely comfortable for any length of time - I was given a wobbly step-ladder to stand on to compensate, and left alone. Jel put down her knitting, and helped hold the yarn coming off the swift. Just when I was frustrated enough to leave the yarn and walk out - she said: "I just thought of something. By the time we're finished, I'll have touched all of your yarn, before you!"

I laughed pretty hard at that. It was enough to convince me not to leave the yarn behind. The fact that no one came over to check on us the whole time we were winding 1250 metres of yarn (that's 1.25 kilometres!) nor said a word to us as we left...was enough to convince me not to go back. But enough kvetching about snooty yarn ladies. Was the yarn itself worth it? I think so! Lorna's Laces "Helen's Lace" in the Mineshaft colourway.

Yes, it's more than a little extravagant. I figure I'm going to be spending a lot of time with this yarn, looking, touching, being confused and frustrated - so I'd better really love it!

I think the variation of colour is enough to keep me interested, without overwhelming the pattern. I hope! Since I actually have no idea what the hell I'm doing! I just know that I couldn't look at the same single colour for that long without wanting to gouge out my eyes! Today I need to go find needles so I can get started.

(Ummm...I just went to the Yahoo group and looked at some of the photos of the first clue...ummm...I think I'm a little nervous! OK, I'm actually a lot nervous. Gulp! But I'm still going hunting for those needles.)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I think it may be time to take a break from socks for awhile. A "quit while I'm ahead" kind of thing - before I over-do it, and get bored with them. And I have far too much pretty sock yarn to let that happen! Puck's Mischief are finished - they remain, like ol' Puck cat, a little gimped, but still soft and snuggly:

Well, I probably won't quit on socks entirely - they are the perfect bus knitting, after all! But I think maybe it's time to try something a little crazier. Like, oh, say, a Mystery Stole knit-a-long. Never mind that I've never knit lace before, nor have I ever learned to read a chart. What the hell! I figure, it's better to jump in before I really know what I'm getting into, so I'm not limited by preconceptions about how hard it will be.

We'll see if I still feel that way tomorrow, though, in the light of day, when I'm not delirious with the heady musk of wool fumes wafting off my new pair of finished socks. It may be that I will see reason before I head out on a yarn-hunting expedition.


But I kind of hope not!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Stuff and such

Trying to stay awake till at least 9:00, so I don't wake up at 3:00 A.M. tomorrow. But bed was really comfy this morning, and really hard to get out of. Somehow I'd built myself a little nest out of pillows, and was snuggled down into it like a burrow, with the cats at my feet...mmmmm! Can't wait to get back there.

I took my tutoring student to the yarn store today, to get her hooked up with some sock yarn. She chose some stunning new Indigo Moon hand-painted merino, in the colourway on the far left of this photo:

On the bus afterward, she kept opening her bag, looking at her yarn, and grinning. I think that's a good sign. (Or a bad one, we'll see if she ends up with too much yarn to ship back to Korea when she leaves...heheheheheh!)

I was astonishingly well-behaved in the store. My purchases totalled less than $11 (Somehow I resisted the new Lorna's Laces, which almost made me weep...but I get to scratch my own yarn itch on Friday, if it's not heresy to speak of yarn and itch in the same sentence!) I bought a crochet hook for my student, a gift of well-wishing as she starts her first pair of socks. And for me, a pattern, Sivia Harding's Journey Socks:

It's an investment, really, since I need to become more comfortable with cables before I tackle my Eris dream. (I sort of accidentally signed up for a class in September to help me with might be a teensy bit ambitious for a First Sweater! Not that that will stop me.)

Just to show that I'm not all about knitting - I also got some more ATC's in the mail today for a swap. I love these little bits of fun - I can play around with all kinds of ideas, without really screwing anything up too badly. Though I can still make quite a mess of the kitchen with them! The first one had to have a "foreign text" theme; the theme for the second ones was letters of the alphabet.

I'm so glad we don't have cable! I'd be having a lot less fun.

(The kind of not-fun I'm having at work with no air-conditioning right now...I'm lobbying for a bathing-suit option in the dress code, but so far no luck. The thermostat outside my classroom read 29 degrees today. Is that fucked or what?!)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Because I can...

Because it's Tuesday, and I'm tired, and I'm totally pissed at Revenue Canada who are just about the most inefficient government agency except possibly the idiots who were sooo unprepared for the new passport rules (but I can't say for sure, because I haven't actually applied for a passport...I want to, but I keep thinking I'll wait till the lines die down. At which rate, I may possibly get to go somewhere for my own fracking funeral, but I digress!) At any rate, I needed a diversion. Lifted from JenLa, I give you:

The game is SCATTERGORIES, and it’s harder than it looks!
Here are the rules:

Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following. They MUST be real places, names, things…NOTHING made up! If you can’t think of anything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person before you had the same 1st initial. You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question. Have fun!

Your Name: Gladys

1. Famous Singer/Band: The Go-Gos (I refuse to consider Mr.Q's suggestion: Genesis)
2. 4 letter word: Gorp
3. Street: Gagliardi Way

4. Color: Green (I can't believe I had to think about that!)
5. Gifts/Presents: Gold! Or Gumdrops. Gift certificate to my local yarn store.
6. Vehicle: an AMC Gremlin
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Gems
8. Boy Name: Gabriel
9. Girl Name: Gabrielle

10. Movie Title: Gone With the Wind
11. Drink: Ginger Ale, Gin & Tonic

12. Occupation: Gin Quality Control Tester (Again, ixnay with Mr.Q's suggestion: Gynecologist)
13. Celebrity: Geezer Butler
14. Magazine: GQ
15. U.S. City: Gainsborough (& a Canadian city: Gander, Newfoundland)

16. Pro Sports Teams: Georgetown Hoyas
18. Reason for Being Late for Work: Galloping trots
19. Something You Throw Away: Garbage (too easy!)
20. Things You Shout: GO AWAY, hideous terrifying arachnid! (Or, when in terrifying traffic: Gaaggh!)

21. Cartoon Character: Green Lantern

And there you have it!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Canada Day, eh!

Yesterday, we left the house at the crack of noon to go see the sister formerly known as the Princess Bride (now Mrs. S for Blogger purposes!) We'd intended to leave a bit earlier, but we were sort of accidentally out till almost 3:00 A.M. the night before, partaking in mirth, merriment, music, and a leetle too much gin & tonic. Ooops! But too good a time was had to regret it the teensiest bit, so we just had a good jolt of caffeine and hit the road.

I was rather eager to get out to their place, though, for I am newly an auntie again, and couldn't wait to meet their wee lassie...and she's every bit as sweet as we'd been told. And Reina's just as much a poser-for-the-camera as all my other nieces! See?

Also, we got to sample Mrs.S's first getting-to-know-you attempts with their new espresso maker...mmmm! As soon as we got home, though, I had a solid, coma-like nap for about 40 minutes, steeling myself for our Canada Day party plans: A BBQ at a friend's place. Most enjoyable, too. It was a mild evening spent on the back deck, eating hot dogs, listening to CDs by Canadian bands (we agreed that since Canada's official head of state is Elizabeth II, then Queen could be considered a Canadian band) The most entertaining part of the evening, by far, was the dessert provided by our host, as modelled by Mr.Q:

That's 4.5 kg of chocolate, my friends. Or 9.9 lbs. Madness, I tell you! Between 12 of us, we couldn't manage to finish 2 pieces. We weren't allowed to leave without taking a piece home. I'm not sure how the van made it home with all the extra weight. It's a traffic pylon of chocolate. We're talking about painting it orange and using it to mark our parking space at home during the madness of the PNE this summer.