Thursday, August 30, 2007

Size Matters

If, while in bed, I can see it clearly in the dark...if the dim light of the alarm clock can cast that much of a shadow behind it...If I can see it scrambling behind a pile of books (in the darkl!)....

Then it's WAY too big a spider!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Merino: The Gateway Fibre

Yesterday, a good friend of mine got married. I'm very happy for him - they're a great match, and in the 12 years I've known him, I've never seen him look as happy in his own skin as he has since they met. The wedding was small and sweet and very laid back, especially for being in such a posh location. We shared a table with 3 other couples, 2 of whom we knew, and we really enjoyed our conversation over the hundred or so lunch courses (and liberal pourings of wine...oops!) One of the wedding favours they gave out were these sweet little tins with M&M candies, printed with their names:

"Great stash boxes!" opined one of the table mates whom we knew. It later came out that the fourth gentleman at our table is an RCMP officer. Gulp. Well, we all know that we could only mean to use these little tins for stashing stitch markers. Or beads, yeah, that's it! Which was entirely plausible, since one of the women at the table is also a knitter, and we had a fine discussion of the merits of merino vs. bamboo; top-down vs. toe-up socks; etc.

After a very fine afternoon, we said our goodbyes and headed east, our old, decrepit, dented grey van belching its way through the Mercedes and Jags in the neighbourhood. Heheheheheh. Having had several glasses of wine (and finishing Mr.Q's champagne, purely selflessly as he was driving. Mmm hmmm.) I thought it would be a good idea to go to the yarn store. Because nothing is as fun as drunken yarn shopping! (Unless it's drunken yarn shopping with a gal pal, and a pool boy to carry our bags and massage our tired feet after the ordeal. Oh yeah, and to pay for it...)

(oops - was that my outside voice? Mr.Q, avert your ears!)

The yarn store drive-by was indeed successful, and probably a lot safer than trying to actually knit in that condition. There was a giant moose wearing knitted stockings in the window, which was briefly disorienting. Until the owner mentioned that it was there on purpose. (I didn't think I'd had that much wine!) At any rate, I found exactly what I was looking for:

I have no idea what the red stuff is. Merino something, I think. I'm not sure. I left the ball band on the counter. Ooops again! However, I'm very excited about it, since it's the perfect colour for these. And the orangey-bluey stuff from Indigo Moon (Which knits up beautifully, a friend of mine started her first pair of socks with the stuff!) will be a pair of Horcrux socks. (Yes, I've got a Harry Potter theme going on...and your point is? But you have to admit, they're cool patterns.)

Meanwhile, I haven't posted kittie pics in awhile. Brigid helps herself to my glass of water:

When that method proved less-than-successful, she got creative:

No, I didn't finish drinking the glass when she was done. I'm not that weird!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Starting the weekend right...

Is there any better way to spend Friday night than a spontaneous date with cheese, crackers, fruit and wine? Actually, there is: add gal-pal bonding and yarn.

I was going to say that the only thing that would have made it better would have been a pool-boy in a loin cloth, feeding me peeled grapes and massaging my feet. But Jel let me play with her new drop spindle and mangle some blue fuzzy stuff. WAY more fun than the pool boy!

(Unless he does windows, too?)

Not being a night-owl, I'm usually home and asleep by 10:00 most nights. And I was tired yesterday, having been out a little late the night before, farewell-ing a couple of colleagues who are moving on. (There was good micro-brew. And mai tais. It was a bit of a scene. Ahem.)

So I was quite surprised to find myself, after helping drain a bottle of very nice wine, wandering in the door at 12:30 last night! And I had to get up early this morning to drive Mr.Q to a first aid class for work. I'm going back to bed now, hopefully I can catch a short nap before Sis comes to pick me up. We're going shopping, and I want to be as perky as possible. I will not be able to take complete leave of my senses on the adventure, since I may have to take the SkyTrain home from Surrey, so don't want to be hauling an unreasonable load back with me.

Thankfully, yarn doesn't weigh that much, and it's pretty compact.

(The drop spindle was fun. A lot of fun. I need one.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Revelry and Ravelry

Just checked my status on the Ravelry invite list...I've moved up about 2000 places, only 2883 people in front of's all downhill from here now, isn't it. (That's not a question. It's a statement of simple fact. And I'm not complaining!)

Half-way to Sixteen

Happy Birthday to my favourite nephew! (OK, he's my only nephew...but out of all the nephews in all the world, he's my favourite one!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Martha Stewart I'm not

I think it's time to go grocery shopping. Past time, in fact. I came to this brilliant realization a few minutes ago, when I went hunting for breakfast. My choices were: dry cereal (no milk); blackberry jelly; a potato; a can of tuna; a pouch of leftover instant oatmeal from our trip. Given some time, and perhaps an Iron Chef competition, perhaps something brilliant could be whipped up that could be served to the Queen. But at 7:30 A.M., pre-coffee....well, I opted for the oatmeal. I can't wait till we're rich, and somebody else will take care of all these little details for me.


Now I have to go excavate clean socks from Mount Laundry. At least I have coffee now.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The most fun you can have with your clothes on... cleaning boiled-over blackberry jelly from the innards of a gas stove.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Momentous Occasion

Happy birthday, Baby Sister!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Black Holes

Found Tetris online. Ooops! Hope you're all well. If I'm not back in a week, send someone looking. Bye!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Knitting content, etc.

I do love me a productive morning! 'Specially when it involves an iced mocha and a walk in the sunshine with a good gal pal. It's even better when it includes an anxiously-awaited Blue Moon arrival, and best when the Bodum search is cut short by the afore-mentioned gal pal "I never use mine, you can have it." Wahoo!

Now back home, more laundry going, fridge re-stocked, and uber-caffeinated. (Me with the caffeine, not the fridge or the laundry...)

So. The rest of the week...remained blissfully unscheduled. The trip was really so we could have some much-needed time away together, and we got lots of that. (It was our 5th anniversary on the long weekend, which was the reason for the holiday) And we also managed to include a great balance of time with family:

(And they do, in fact, get cuter than that - she has two sisters and a brother, and there's a second kitten. It should be illegal!) Highlights were the "camping" trip in a blanket tent in the basement, complete with a "bear" (convincingly played by Mr.Q); two chapters of a book read aloud to me by our nephew; casual hang-out time with Dad; Mom's strawberry freezer jam; a 1:30 A.M. wake-up and brief, chilly attempt to spot meteors with Baby Sis; and the devouring of an entire wheel of Brie cheese, baked with jam, with my sister and our husbands. Fortunately, the cheese tasted better than it looked. Monkey brains, anyone?

(There were also several heads of roasted garlic, but they looked too much like spider eyes to post.)

There was time with friends, to just hang out and enjoy a cold drink on a summer evening, after grocery shopping (don't take Anie shopping with you, she's a terrible enabler! But then again, the expensive hot chocolate mix really did taste better.)

We book-ended the week with another festival, catching a live out-door show with one of our favourite bands ever, As The Crow Flies, as well as a band from Nelson that featured Mr.Q's bass teacher from his music college days. Dancing in the sun, and then under the stars, and lots of people we knew to catch up with...loverly! (And a beer garden...that also made it a lot of fun.)

There was knitting in the sun...."we" found a yarn store in Canmore, just about on our way out of town. (If you understand that by "we found" I mean "I spotted the store and jumped up and down in the car, squealing like a baby given a large ice cream instead of pureed spinach for dinner.) Mr.Q parked the car, against my (admittedly feeble) protestations, and pulled out a book to read, telling me to take my time. It was a sweet little store, and I had a great time poking about and fondling. I managed to resist both the sock yarn and any blue yarn. In fact, I walked out with some PINK yarn, highly unusual for me, and perfectly gorgeous. It's Misti Alpaca, and soooo soft! Here it is in the wild:

There was sock knitting, of course, a Plain Jane sock started in Blue Moon's "Love in Idleness" colourway (I thought it was appropriate knitting to take on an anniversary trip - I'm such a suck!) Here, the beginning of the sock enjoys UHF's set at the Canmore Folk Festival:

Though it, too, preferred the back country:

Eventually, though, we did have to pack it all up and come back to the city. Sigh! The drive home was mostly nice, till the last bit of nasty traffic. There were two sights worth noting, one in Cranbrook on the way out - do read the sign carefully, and tell me whether you'd eat there:

And again, near the Anti-Christ summit, a Sasquatch, known locally as a "Mugwump"

Note that he has both a mullet and a case of Kokanee. Which pretty much makes him a stereotypical redneck. Who knew?

It was such fun camping, and we haven't done any in so long...hopefully Mr.Q will have a couple of unscheduled weekends this fall, and we can get out with the tent again soon. (Ack! It's almost FALL! How did that happen?!)

I think I should test out that new Bodum now. Just in case. To make sure it's all good for tomorrow morning. Though Mr.Q may come home and find me swinging from the light fixtures if I have anymore caffeine.

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig

Whew! It was weird to sleep in my own bed last night...both coz it was inside, and much, much bigger than anything we slept in over the last week. The cats were very cuddly, and walked all over my head more than once. I could tell that they'd been well-looked after, though - thanks oodles, Jel!

So...the trip! Was delicious. And largely outdoors. I think we figured that we spent at least 60-70% of our time outside, including sleeping time. I had forgotten how marvelous that can be.

The drive out featured several sightings of marshmallow farms:

As well as a very large bird near the top of the Anarchist Summit outside of Osoyoos (which I prefer to call the Anti-Christ Summit, given the steep, steep hill involved.)

Because we got into town a day before anyone was expecting us, we had some time to ourselves on Saturday morning, which set the tone for the rest of the week: no schedule or agenda other than what we wanted to do at the moment. It was tough sometimes to enforce that, but fortunately our friends and family were quite understanding. Which helped us stick to that plan! My Mom made us a delicious steak dinner with strawberry shortcake....mmmmmmm!

Sunday we planned to spend the afternoon at our friends' campsite, swimming and hanging out, before driving to Canmore that night. There was a potato gun there, which resulted in otherwise intelligent, articulate men turning into gibbering idjits. Some of the potatoes were too small to fit the barrel properly, so they used wadded up toilet paper to make 'em fit. Which led to predictable jokes about "blowing their wads." If you look carefully, you can see the spray of paper and potato bits shooting out as Mr.Q launches a spud at the lake:

Fortunately, they soon ran out of potatoes, and pulled out the guitars instead. There was a campfire ban, so we had music around the camp lantern:

We ended up having so much fun that we decided to spend the night. 'Cept we didn't have our tent, or any camping gear besides our bedding and the tarp we picked up for the folk festival. Which, with a little help from a handy pal, was sufficient. We were serenaded to sleep by an obliging owl. Our campsite, in the morning light:

After camp coffee, we headed to Canmore, where we met up with my brother at the folk festival. And a better setting for a festival, I have not seen:

Baby bro had taught himself to juggle that day (show-off!) and he spent a lot of his time practicing:

He was getting pretty good by the end of it. Mr.Q & I had a great time, people watching, and enjoying the music. (Though surprisingly, not Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary: he was the folk music version of William Shatner, slow and.....lugubrious, with many.....pauses, and more..... talking without even a Star Trek uniform for entertainment value!) The last time we went to a music festival was four years ago - too long!

Our traditional self-portrait (I don't know why my eyes are so wide. I was "on" nothing stronger than carrot sticks.)

After a really good visit with my brother and his very cool Significant Other (it's amazing how much easier it is to hang out and have real conversations when you're not all jammed into a small space and a busy schedule for a wedding or Christmas or something) we headed back to Cranbrook on Tuesday and loaded up to head out camping all by our lonesomes for a couple of days.

We went back to our friends' site by the Kootenay River and spent the better part of three days in blissful sloth. We read, snoozed, watched the water, watched osprey hunt, watched the stars come out, listened to squirrels chattering and coyotes singing, and had no idea what time it was for three days. It was light, it was dark, it was time to eat or make another pot of coffee or put down the book for awhile. Divine!

We had planned to stay three nights, but ended up leaving on the third day, chased out by a wicked windstorm. I don't think I've ever packed up a camp so fast! I'm glad we got out as quickly as we it was, we had to pull two trees off the road to get out. If they'd been any bigger, we'd have had a bit of a hike to get help & a chainsaw!

It was a bit of a nerve-wracking drive out to the highway, (keep in mind we were driving a teensy rental Toyota Yaris!) but it makes for a good adventure story now.

Oy! I have to run & meet our fab cat-sitter for coffee, and then try to find a replacement for the bodum coffee-maker than got crunched camping (o the tragedy!) This is long enough for now anyway. Will return later with knitting and miscellaneous content.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A mini-rant

Back from holidays...this morning, on the highway out of Creston, I was saying to Mr.Q what a nice time I'd had. A lovely, relaxing trip. And it was, and I'll post more, with pics, tomorrow when I'm recovered from the hour and a bit it took us to get through the bumper-to-bumper traffic between Abbotsford and the bridge. We went from this:

To this:

Which would be enough to make me grumpy anyway. But of course there's more! When we got home, we found out that the landlord had been in our suite without notice, again (when we were away for the Princess Wedding, he decided he'd rip out and repair part of the bathroom ceiling. Which would have been best if he'd let us know beforehand, but really, I'd have been OK if he'd just moved things out of the bathroom or even cleaned up the plaster dust he left all over the counter, floor, and clean towels!) This time he was looking at something in the wall behind the washer and dryer, and he left a pile of dirt and insulation for us to clean up.

I can't complain about his diligence. But coming home from a holiday, twice in 7 weeks, to find dirty bootprints on the floors and messes to clean up when he's been in our suite (illegally!)....well, it's the wee-est bit aggravating! Dear, sweet Mr.Q will be having a chat with him tonight when they finish their dinner. Let's just hope it goes well, shall we? Coz I really don't fancy moving all of Mr.Q's records anytime soon!

Meanwhile, I did spot something curious on the wall under the cat window that distracted me just enough to stop my raving out loud:

Isn't that cool? I love that you can see a bit of his (or her) slime where he (or she) has moved down the wall. Weird!

(Oh yeah - just so's it not all bitching and complaining 'round here, I'm happy to say that I have most of the bendy-ness of my finger back, the bruising is almost gone, it only hurts when I slam it into something, and it hasn't hindered my knitting the teensiest bit!)

(Landlord update: he just came down to apologize...and promised to ask (and clean!) next time! I do like him, even if he is clueless sometimes.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Pity party for me!

I woke up late this morning, at my brother's place in Canmore, having been up rather late playing cards and basking in the post-folk festival afterglow. I had a lovely coffee on the "patio" with his girlfriend while the guys slept in, and I thought: "Everybody's just going back to work after the long weekend, and I still have another week off! Hooray!"

I wasn't gloating, I really wasn't, Oh Karma People In the Sky (Or wherever you live...) I was going to come back into Cranbrook and do a longer post with lots of pictures and stuff....

But when we stopped in Radium for a pee break, I sort of slammed my left index finger in the car door, and it promptly swelled up to the size of a small zucchini. There being no hospitals between Radium & Cranbrook, a drive of about 90 minutes or so...we bought a bag of ice and stuck my finger in it and I had about the most fun you can have with a frozen garden vegetable for a digit, and no drugs! (DOH! I just remembered there are ciders in the car...doh!)

By the time we got back into Cranbrook the swelling had stopped, if not receded, and I'm pretty sure it's not broken...but it makes all this innernet stuff a little trickier than usual. So pics of juggling and marshmallow farms will have to wait. My typing is even worse than normal, which takes some doing!

Gonna go see if Mom's got some tequila stashed somewheres. Don't tell her!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Why I'm a Happy Soon-to-be-Camper

Sometimes my job kind of sucks. Sometimes, it really sucks. And sometimes there are moments that remind me why I stay there. Like yesterday, when I found out that my last-minute, unlikely-to-be-granted request for an extra day of holidays in the busiest season of the year...was approved. Which means not having to get home late at night and rush to work first thing Monday morning with no clean laundry and no food in the fridge and would there be enough time to return the rental car before work? Now all of that can be managed at a reasonable pace, and I can go back to work on the Tuesday holding onto a little bit of post-vacation bliss.

Today, the head teacher asked me what time I plan to leave tomorrow, right at 3:30? No, I said, I need to make sure all the marking is done so the sub can return their tests on Monday. "Well, if you didn't have to worry about the marking, what time would you leave?" "Right at 3:30, of course!" "Leave me an answer key and I'll do your marking for you, on one condition - you promise not to think about this place for the duration of your holiday."

Ummmmm....OK! I think I can accomodate. I noticed that when I asked him if I really looked like I needed a break that badly, he didn't answer.

Then I found out that Mr.Q won't be working on Friday, which means we can leave a day early. Hooray! It means my cleaning/packing/unearthing the camping gear schedule has been totally thrown off, but I don't really care. As long as there's no laundry left to moulder in the washing machine for 10 days, I'll be happy.

I don't remember it taking this much work to get ready for a camping trip...but that could be because I used to use the gear so often that it was always handy and ready to go. Not so much these days... Maybe we need to get out into the woods a little more!

So...the camping dishes are washed and drying, towels are packed, the pump for the air mattress is packed...gonna head out and pick a few things up (like the rest of the Harry Potter books from a friend, to take on the road!)

Yay for summer holidays!