Monday, December 31, 2007

No, you're not crazy - you really are hearing "The Lonely Goatherd"

I am not really a particularly superstitious person, but I do believe that intention and self-fulfilling prophecy go a long way. To that end, I try to spend New Year's Day in such a way as to set the tone for the next year. Which means that I don't want to spend it cooking and cleaning, or in a messy house! So Mr.Q & I spent the better part of this morning tidying up and sorting out (his!) piles. I picked up some croissants for breakfast tomorrow, and took some chicken out of the freezer - we're going to sleep in, have a tasty breakfast, go for a walk if the weather permits, and generally spend the day relaxing and enjoying ourselves the best we can.

Upon completing my share of the chores, I went out to meet some gal pals for a knit-up at The Laughing Bean. I had the last eggnog latte of the season...sigh! It was very tasty. We were talking about all kinds of interesting things - New Year's Eve plans, music, yarn, knitting retreats, wine, chocolate, whether the end of the thumb on my newly-completed mitten looks like a nipple or not...when I heard the strangest thing over the cafe's stereo.

Yodelling. More specifically, the yodelling bits from "The Lonely Goatherd" puppet show sequence in The Sound of Music. I was confused...this was a pop song of sorts, was I really hearing what I thought I was hearing? Yes, my musical companions said, I was really hearing what I thought I was hearing. No, I was not going crazy. (Though maybe it would be better if I were!) Apparently it was a Gwen Stefani song which includes a sample from The Lonely Goatherd.

Shows you just how into pop culture and contemporary music I am! I got the Sound of Music right off, but hadn't a clue about the Gwen Stefani part of the song. And you know what? I'm OK with that. I like The Sound of Music, and am much more likely (and would prefer!) to be caught singing Do-Re-Mi out loud on the bus, than anything by Ms. Stefani.

Now that I've exposed (and revelled in!) my unhipness - I'm going to go get ready for my hopping New Year's Eve....card games at a friend's house. Whoop whoop!

Wherever y'all are tonight, and whatever you get up to - here's hoping it's with good people, and everyone gets home safe. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

TGFGTO, and such

Thank Goodness For Greek Take-Out!

Seems I've had an overwhelming need to hibernate the last few days, and I'm rather grateful that I've been able to indulge. I've mostly been reading, definitely not cooking, and am glad there's a reasonable Greek restaurant in the neighbourhood!

Not much going on - planning for a pretty mellow New Year's Eve, I think. Mr.Q is playing a testosterone-y gig in a bar that I'm not fond of, so we won't be spending the evening together. Nothing new! Something I learned early on about life with a musician - no date for New Year's!

However, I felt I had to post today, even just briefly...It being my One Year Blogiversary, I kind of figured I should acknowledge it. I'm going to have a celebratory glass of eggnog (sans rum; there's been enough of that the past month, and I'll save it for tomorrow!) and maybe make cookies for Mr.Q, who's been awfully sweet today, dancing attendance and doing the dishes while I laze about.

Happy New Year's Eve Eve!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A little goes a long way...

Today, I actually got my arse out of my PJs, into civvie clothes, and out of the house! I'd love to say it was because I felt an overwhelming need for fresh air and exercise...but the truth is, I had finished the piles of books borrowed from Jel, and can't get the next in the series till she gets back into town. Sometime today or tomorrow, I hope!

Meanwhile, I had to do some banking (evil, evil student loans!) and figured that while I was at it, I'd take Floppity around to a few downtown sightseeing locales. We went to Canada Place and did photos of the docks and the harbour. We went to Gastown and did photos in front of the Steam Clock and Gassy Jack. But the most important thing we did was pay homage to one Vancouver's sacred institutions:

The Coffee Shop. I figured I'd go to the best, Caffe Artigiano...where I had a "Spanish Latte" - a latte lightly sweetened with condensed milk. Mmmmm!

(Let me tell you, there is nothing like taking pictures of a Beanie Bunny, right downtown, to help you get over any self-consciousness you might have about what other people might think of you. Especially if you're setting the Beanie Bunny up on a glove on a parking meter so it doesn't get wet - and saying as much to the rabbit. I'm afraid that part was in my outside voice. Ooops!)

Then I just came home, a two-hour outing being quite strenuous enough for my first expedition in days. It was cold and ucky, so I made a huge vat of seriously kick-ass black bean soup. We had that and veggie burgers for dinner.

Mr.Q thought he'd try one of the goodies he got in his stocking; "Santa" gave him a variety of hot sauces and condiments. He spooned some Swazi Fire Chilli Sauce onto his burger. A few seconds later, I heard a really strange squeaky sort of moan from across the table. I looked up and saw this:

Now, it looked to me like he was in pain. I asked him if he was okay, and he nodded and squeaked again. "How's the chili sauce?" I asked him. His response:

It's an hour since, and his eyes are still bugging out. But he swears he loves the stuff. He's weird.

(Dude! I think Jel just signed into MSN...more books! Also, it's good to know they didn't fall into a lake and drown or anything. But I'll leave that part of the story up to her!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

We wish ewe a merry knitmas!

While I'm waiting for the coffee to brew, so I can make some Mexican hot-chocolate for breakfast, I thought I'd share a couple photos of some of the Trinity Street Christmas lights...there's a street that's about 10 blocks long in our neighbourhood, and every year, most of the houses put up lights. You can buy a ballot and vote for the best house, and the proceeds go to a neighbourhood daycare centre. These were two that I liked the best; the first for the whimsical strings of snowflakes and icicles strung above the cones:

And the second, for illustrating West Coast ingenuity. No snow for a white Christmas?

No problem! Use quilt batting! Yards and yards of it! At night, after a little rain and a little wine, it's startlingly effective!

Merry merry to you and yours. However and with whomever you celebrate, I wish you light and whimsy and joy!

Monday, December 24, 2007

90 Minutes of my life that I'll never get back

Tonight, after being badgered for days, I finally gave in and said yes, I would watch a movie that Mr.Q has wanted to see for some time. I wish I hadn't. Do any of us really need to see a 25-year-old cheesy sci-fi movie, starring a shrill, pre-16-Candles Molly Ringwald? (Trust me, you don't!)

Honestly. I could have been doing something so much better with my time. Like vacuuming, or having that dental work I've been putting off. Or playing in traffic. Oy!

I did get a fair bit done on a mitten, though. I had the shocking realization that I have nothing really warm for my hands. Shocking! A knitter, with no mittens at all! Not even store-bought ones. So I decided to remedy that. I've got some fun yarn (Noro something-or-other) and am making good progress.

Especially considering that I've never knit mitts, and I don't feel like trying to find/decipher a pattern. I figure I should know enough by now about the basics of knitting that I can wing a pair of mitts. I'm having great fun at the moment! It's kind of liberating, really. Though we'll see if it's that much fun when I try to figure out how to get the thumb & cables to line up on the opposite hand.

I'm feeling kind of rebellious, actually. Damn it all, I'm going to knit by my rules! Neener neener!

(I'm also noticing a distracting tendency to want to put a "K" in front of all words beginning with the letter "N". (Knoticing my Knew Kneedles....) I wonder what that's all about.)

Meanwhile, I've been hosting a Beanie Bunny. Which anybody who knows me knows is weird - I am so not a stuffed animal kind of gal! However, Floppity isn't just any stuffed animal; she's kind of an easier-to-mail version of those travelling garden gnomes. Though she hasn't been kidnapped, but sent all over the place since she left her home in Germany. She got here from Arizona just in time to enjoy our green Christmas, before I send her off to Quebec. Today was wonderfully & unexpectedly sunny, so we took her out to see our neighbourhood. First, though, we did a pic in front of our wee tree:

Then a little tree-climbing:

And to see the mountains & Burrard Inlet, and the port:

I'm not sure if it was the rich sea air that caught up with her, or too much rum & eggnog, but she was a little unbalanced by the end of our excursion, letting her ears all hang out:
I certainly hope she behaves at Christmas dinner tomorrow! Speaking of it time for bed yet? How soon will it be tomorrow? Mr.Q won't let me open my stocking yet. Also, he keeps asking if I want my present now, and when I'm just about to say yes, he tells me too bad, I have to wait. Stinker! I'm going to wake him up super-early.
We still don't have a Christmas worm. I'm a little worried about that. It's just not Christmas without one! I picked up some origami paper yesterday. Does anybody know how to do an origami worm?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chipmunks roasting on an open fire....

I've come up with (or been handed) a few great titles for posts over the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I remember none of them - I'm going to have to start writing them down as they occur! And even if I could remember one (or more), it's not like I've had much to write about. (I mean really, how much do you care about the correct use of the present perfect passive vs. the present progressive passive? Now, don't sound so excited all at once!)

I started the round of holiday celebrating last Friday, with our school Christmas party. For some reason, the powers-that-be think it's a good idea for our (adult!) students to get a taste of that strange entity, the Christmas Concert.

Which leads to such oddities as a class full of "Elvises" with blue construction-paper sideburns, or Frosty the Snowman doing a pole dance...or, as with my class, a choreographed dance to an ABBA cover band's version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. For the record, they decided to dance instead of sing, and they worked the whole thing out themselves. I came back from a coffee break one morning, to find they'd broken the song down into verses and instrumental breaks on the whiteboard. Further, in a very fine display of stickman art, they had illustrated the routine they'd worked out. I let them run with it, and they had a blast. They also gave the best performance of the school. Not that I'm biased!

We're having an abbreviated class tomorrow, and then a wee classroom party. In the interest of immersing them completely in a Canadian Christmas Experience (minus the snow!) I'm going to show them The Grinch. And I've spent a good chunk of time tonight putting together little containers of seasonal baking for them.

I'd originally thought I'd just use some of the festive cello bags I had left from last year....but our unit this week involved a lot of discussion about global warming and recycling and yada yada yada. So. I realized I couldn't give them cookies in disposable plastic bags. I went out last night and bought a whack of reusable sandwich containers to use instead. The process therefore involved a lot more washing of dishes than I'd intended. But at least my conscience is clear! And also, they won't hassle me about it. I asked them all to bring their own dishes & cutlery from home, to try to make it a "zero waste" party. We'll see just how well it goes!

And after...our own staff lunch party. Which is traditionally followed by two of the marketing team involving some of the staff in an odd game of one-up-manship...through karaoke. I do wonder how much self-respect I'll have intact by the end of the day. I wonder how much I'll really care! I will remember to have cab fare on hand, though; I 'spect I might not be able to manage transit by the end of it!

Ooops! I'm late for my dose of rum & eggnog. Best take care of that!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Word up

Being an ESL teacher, one hears all kinds of interesting interpretations of the English language. Thankfully my students are adults, so correcting misinformation is a little easier most of the time. But I do hear some funny things!

On a test: the correct answer to the question was: Being a police officer is more dangerous than being a teacher.

The most common answer given by students: A police officer is more dangerous than a teacher.

(Which may or may not be true, depending on who has the Taser, but that's another story!)

In class: "Teacher, why did my friend tell me it isn't correct to say 'I knocked up your door'?" (Well, there is the problem of splinters!)

During a shopping role play exercise, practicing expressions for refunds and exchanges: two students (women) have chosen to use a pet store for their practice. They have gone through meerkats, puppies, cats, and birds, when I overhear this exchange: "I'd like to exchange my beaver. It isn't friendly."

When I discreetly explained the idiomatic use of that particular word, they blushed beet red...and went back to the same example, giggling madly while the rest of the class kept asking "What? What?!"

I told them to ask the students in question, after class.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Yarn P*rn

In anticipation of an enforced yarn diet in the new year (ugh! I hate to use such foul language, but sometimes it's the only way to really get your point across!) I have had a couple of fallings-down.

But first, a finished object, pair of fingerless gloves in luscious Blue Sky Alpaca.

They're for my sister, the pattern is my own wing-it variation on Fetching. She mocked me when I made Fetching for myself...and then called me a couple weeks ago to apologize, her office was really cold, could I make her a pair? Being such a good big sister, of course I said yes. Being the older sister, I reserve the right to bug her a little for it. So I'm calling them "I Told You So." I've said, Mr.Q and I are scaling back the Christmas thing this year. Instead of buying each other gifts, we agreed that we could each take out a bit of an allowance, and do something for ourselves. And since he loves shopping for records as much I enjoy hanging out in yarn stores - the self-shopping was part of the fun! Conveniently, his favourite record shop is about 4 blocks away from my favourite yarn store. So we took a couple of hours last weekend, and had a bit of playtime in our respective little havens.

When we met up again, he had a collection of obscure vinyl. I had three skeins of Dream in Colour Smooshy sock yarn. Really, how can you resist a sock yarn named "Smooshy"? I actually walked around the store, squishing it and making sound effects: "Smoosh, smoosh." One of the reasons I love knitters is that every person in the store understood, or at least accepted it without comment.

And honestly - a colourway called In Vino Veritas? Please! It was calling my name! Isn't it sexy?

Everything that I've seen on Ravelry with this yarn generally, and this colourway in particular, has been lovely. I can't wait to play with it!

Though it may have some competition for my attention, thanks to Rabbitch. Evil, evil bunny! I likes her. She dyed some merino and called it Raspberry Beret. Being a child of the '80s, I was compelled by the ghosts of my shoulder pads to indulge. We met for coffee last night, and she hooked me up:

It's just about as smooshy as the Smooshy. And when I pulled it out of the bag, my first instinct was to smell it - it looks like it should smell like rasperries. The funny thing is, it's not just me. When I got home & showed Mr.Q, the first thing he did was smell it! We loves it, we does, our preciousssss!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Just for fun!

Despite my best efforts, I caved when Mr.Q requested pizza for dinner. He convinced me by offering to run to the store to pick up a couple things (like dishsoap, which we are out of - I've been forgetting to buy it for a week or more, and he rinsed the last bit out of the bottle last night trying to get through supper dishes) The pizza would take about 40 minutes, he reasoned. Enough time to run to the store and back; meanwhile, I could relax and catch up on some blog reading.

The pizza came a little faster than expected, and Mr.Q wasn't back yet. I waited a few minutes...maybe he ran into a friend, maybe the line-ups were long at the store...and of course, he didn't have his cell phone with him. I figured I'd give him another 15 minutes before I started to worry.

About 13 minutes later, he called from the drugstore. The van wouldn't start. In fact, he'd had trouble starting it before he left the house, and no, it wan't the battery. He was pretty sure it was the starter. Could I call a tow truck?

I put his pizza in the oven. I am eyeing his cheap, crappy beer. (Wait! I have tequila! Be right back....)

Aaah! That's better. A wee sip, in the sheepy shotglass that Jel brought me from Ireland...

The guy at the towing company was very nice. He called me "dear" several times, but not in a patronizing, annoying kind of way. More like a sympathetic uncle. We've had good luck with tow truck drivers. We met a very nice one on our honeymoon, but that's another story. (The guy at the brake shop was also very sweet, as was the guy that looked at our was a looong trip, in some ways!)

In fact, maybe I'll just take my tequila and sit in the corner, thinking about the nice tow truck driver that we met on our honeymoon. When our car died at Bridal Falls.

That will be much nicer than thinking about a new starter and all the other work we need to do on the van this month. You know, because we have so much fracking money to throw around!

(Yes, Rabbitch, I still want that yarn. I'll go so far as to say that I need that yarn. It's still a lot cheaper than therapy!)

I'm going to go comfort myself with the knowledge that at least my basement isn't flooding. Yet.

(But I did just spill a bit of tequila on the keyboard...whoops! Hey, I'm just sanitizing it, alright?)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Seasoned greetings

Seeing as it's December now, and also that it snowed yesterday (I realized that the problem with snowy weather here isn't so much that nobody's really used to it; or even that it is a wet, slippery kind of snow that can make driving a bitch - it's that there's very little snow removal equipment, and a teeny-tiny little snow removal budget...because apparently we don't get winter here. Kind of like a week ago, when the temperatures dipped below zero - in Canada, gasp! - and the new hi-tech trolley buses didn't work. Because even though they have ice-cutters on the poles, they read the frozen trolley lines as dead. Imagine that! Sub-zero temperatures in late November! Ooops. Sorry. Ranting again!)

Anyway. Back to the December/snow thing. I love how quiet everything seems with the snow, and how bright it is at night. How all the edges of the city are softened, and it starts to feel like Christmas.

I'll admit, I'm a suck. I love Christmas. Solstice. Fusilli Fest. Whatever. We're toning it waaaay down this year - and in fact, I'm already liking it more because of that. Instead of stressing out about shopping, we've got at least one party to go to every weekend between now and New Year's. Instead of worrying about travel plans on winter roads, we're staying here, looking forward to a mellow week of laying low.

I set up our "tree" today. (With a rescue by Mr.Q when the cords and threads of our new hanging-star-thingy started making me nuts!) It's wee. It's cheesy. It makes me ridiculously happy. I listened to The Grinch while setting it up.

The cats were a great help. As always.

Now I'm geared up for 3 weeks of mulled wine, eggnog, carolling, light-looking...maybe we'll actually get down to see the carolling ships this year!