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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

Well. I had pondered the possibility of a meandering, thoughtful post full of ruminations and reminiscences on the year past....But, aside from the fact that "ruminating" makes me think of a grazing cow, I've had far too busy a day to have time to compose such an epistle.

A lovely day, mind you, with yarn fondling and new knitting notions and a most excellent lunch (bleu-brie, warmed, on a baguette with prosciutto, pear slices, toasted walnuts, olive oil and balsamic vinegar....divine!), all in the highly-enjoyable company of a certain yarnpiggy...

But still, a day too busy to allow for much of a post. Besides, I still don't have a card reader for that new-to-me camera. Maybe on the weekend? And now I have to start thinking about getting ready to go out for the evening.

Yes, the home-body Mrs.Q is actually going out for New Year's Eve. To a bar, even! Where Mr.Q's Queen tribute band is opening for a Who tribute, and a Doors tribute. How much fun will that be? Hmmm? I'm pretty stoked.

(And I'm totally bringing earplugs!)

Wherever you are tonight, I hope you're warm and safe, that you get home safe from wherever your celebrating takes you, and that your evening is as much fun (however you define that!) as mine looks set to be.

Happy New Year, Gentle Readers! May 2009 be full of laughter, light, love, music, whimsy, warm hand-knits (and/or hand-knitting), good people, magic, and excellent chocolate. Much love from the Quimby household to you and yours!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Yay for more holidays!

Starting into the second week of my Christmas break, and oh my! It's lovely. I'm trying not to talk about it too much when Mr.Q's around, as he had to get up at 5:30 this morning and head off to work as usual. Let's just not mention that after he left this morning, I went back to sleep till 10:00. (I never sleep that late! I guess I really needed it.)

In fact, the only thing that got me up then was an odd smell that I thought I should get up and investigate. Not a bad smell, just something unusual.

I forgot that I had put a chicken-mushroom thing in the slow cooker when I got up to see Mr.Q off for work. That's how tired I was. (And once I identified what it was, the smell was actually pretty tasty. Most excited about dinner, I am!)

Trying to decide if we have enough coffee to do us for tomorrow morning. If so, there's no need to leave the house until I go out tonight...which would be nice, since the weather continues to be crappy. It has warmed up and started raining...which means giant slush puddles on either side of the snow banks, and super-icy bits where sidewalks (I'd say at least 75% of them) went unshovelled. Meanwhile, inside, it's all nice and cozy, and the cats are setting an excellent napping example, and my PJs are comfy, and why would I want to give any of that up, if I don't need to?

Anyway. While I struggle to make that especially difficult decision, here are a few shots of the Christmas knitting I sent back to the Kootenays:

First, all of the "away" knitting, en masse:

4 hats, 3 headbands, a pair of slippers (not pink as shown, but burgundy) and a scarf.

The scarf, a one-skein "keyhole" thingy made with Malabrigo Silky Merino, I was not so sure about at first. Then I blocked it - and almost didn't send it away. Sooooo soft! Here's a better shot of the FO:

And two more of the hats on heads - first Dad:

And my tres-cool brother-in-law - I love the stylin' addition of the bow! As near as I can tell, he wore it like that all day.

(I dunno - I think the hat's a little short, but he swears it's OK. Hmmm....)

In other knitting-related stuff...I am about 1 inch away from finishing the main part of the body of the Viking Sweater of Doom (which is only about 2/3 of the body, but then I get to start shaping for sleeves and the V-neck, so it will be a slightly more interesting black hole of knitting.) I've got a couple different socks on the go, and am debating whether I want a wrap/stole thingy, or a sexy cashmere scarf, or a cardigan for myself for spring....any suggestions?

Mr.Q, thoughtful man that he is, got me a gift certificate to my favourite LYS for Christmas. I had hoped to get up there to play with it before they went on holiday, but the weather got in the way. O lovely Fate! Since I just found out they're having a sale in the very near future.

Heheheheheh.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Ho Ho!

I am most delighted to report that we did, indeed, make it out for dinner last night, and even got a taxi home again after a certain amount of....adventure. And I am so glad we went. (Not only coz 2 turkey dinners is totally twice the fun! And twice the naps!) The "raspboffie" pie was quite tasty, the company of the most excellent sort, there were games and music, and Mr.Q got to bring home a toilet seat which he won in the "useless gift exchange." Really, does it get much better?

(Seriously - it was a fantastic evening. Mostly because this particular group of people seems to be the west-coast equivalent of the pot-lucking, music-making circle we miss from Home. Not a replacement - but a fantastic enhancement. And life is certainly richer with that kind of community!)

Woke up much earlier than I should have this morning, which may necessitate a nap later on. Of course, it was well worth talking to the kidlets and other fambly members, chaotic though it sounded. (Shiloh got a doll! That pees and poops! And comes with a diaper! Wow!) I'm of mixed feelings about staying here this year...I miss the mob like nuts. And I really liked going back to sleep in my own (quiet) bed.

Dad was kind enough to try for a few knitting photos for me. Here's Baby Sis, modelling her eggplant hat, which she has promised to wear in public:




Hopefully more to come...but I 'spect the kidlets were way too enthralled with the toys at hand to stay still long enough for a photo. I can't blame them, either. That doll sounded pretty cool.

(And we did have our own excitement here this morning, as the sardines seem a little rich for Bagheera all at once. I guess it's not really Christmas without cat puke!)

Merry merry to all, and to all a good knit night!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Again with the "whew"

So Bagheera's more or less fine. A persnickety old beast, as usual, but he's speaking to me again, so that's good. The lump on his leg? Not a tumour, nor an extra testicle, or nest of hatching tropical spiders, or alien life form....but a fat deposit. Which may or may not need to be removed, depending on whether it grows any more. However, he also needs some work done on his teeth - major cleaning, possible extractions, good times; he has very, very dry skin; and he (duh) needs to go on a diet. To add to the indignity, Mr.Q has started calling him "Lumpy."

The diet thing is complicated by the fact that he needs lots of fatty acids to deal with the dry skin. (Also, the vet was concerned about how we would manage to put one cat on Weight Watchers when there are two others in the house. I laughed. Have you seen the size of these beasties? Guess who're all going to Kitty Craig after Christmas!)

So they all get sardines for breakfast, and dry food at night. I tried out the sardines this morning, to see how they'd like 'em. They like 'em. (The smell gives me flashbacks to a high school play, Noises Off, that I did props for in Grade 11, but there's more than enough booze in the house to deal with that.)

We have to take him back in February to get his teeth done, at which point (since he'll already be under anaesthetic) they can also remove the lump. (The receptionist mentioned that she thought Feb was their "dental health" month, which would mean a discount....here's hoping!) In the meantime, the vet gave me some stuff for Bagheera's skin. I didn't really ask questions, I just wanted to get home - I was pretty traumatized by the drive there, and Bagheera was pretty traumatized by the thermometer.

But when I went to apply the stuff last night, I had a look at the package. And I have to say, I think I really like this vet. He was efficient, thorough in his explanations, gentle with the cat and human both....and the goop for Bagheera's skin is all natural essential oils and the like. No icky chemicals or steroids. I like that.

Returning the rental car was about as much fun as picking it up...yay Translink! (NOT.) It's dumping snow again, and we're supposed to go to a friend's for dinner tonight. I hope we can make it there (and home!) or otherwise we're going to be eating a whole banoffee pie between us for supper.

(Note to fambly members who also make this dessert - I'm trying it with raspberries instead of bananas, and I cooked the milk in a saucepan, instead of boiling the cans...a little tedious, but it seems to have worked well - and without the fun of exploding cans!)

I just really, really hope we can make it out to Sis's tomorrow for dinner! You know the roads are bad when you have to give a 2-hour window for arrival at the end of a 1-hour trip. ("We'll be there...I dunno...somewhere between 2:00 and 4:00? I hope?") Good times. Meanwhile...while I wait for the filling in the pie to cool, I'm going to do a wee bit of tidying, and then spend the afternoon in my PJs picking out a sassy sock pattern.

Merry Christmas Eve, all! Stay warm and safe!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Whew!

Well. It's been a busy 24 hours chez Quimby, but the chaos is almost over. Bagheera has a "thing" on his leg...I'm not sure what, there's no evidence of a bite or a scratch, so I don't think it's an abscess. It doesn't seem to be bothering him at all, but it's just weird. It's kind of like he suddenly grew a testicle out the side of his leg. Very strange. I'm not all that worried about it, but we decided that it would be better to have it looked at before Christmas, if we could, rather than have something go apocalyptically wrong over the holiday and have to take him to the emergency clinic - an option far too rich for our blood.

Of course, not having a vehicle now makes trips to the vet an adventure. And this snow makes trips anywhere on transit a nightmare. So we decided to book a rental car for the day, and take advantage of it to get a lot of errands done. (Getting to the rental agency was enough to drive a saint to drink, I'll spare you the details!)

We picked up the car, did some running around last night, went for dinner....came home and still had to shovel out a parking spot before we could call it a day. (Poor Mr.Q's boots will prolly take days to dry out! I'm cooking him a tasty dinner tonight to make up for it.) However, one of the things we did last night was to pick up those gaiters for me...and holy cow, are they ever fun!

Fashionista, I'm not - but they did a great job when I was out trudging around today. Which was also an adventure, trying to find parking. I managed to not get stuck, thank FSM. Ran a ton of errands and did a major grocery shopping, so we're stocked up for the next few days. I thought it would be wise, since we're supposed to get yet another dump of snow!

No pictures yet...I need to go elsewhere to find a card reader for the camera, they didn't have one at London Drugs...and there's no way that's going to happen before next week. There's just no way I want it badly enough to make the 4-hour expedition. At least, not without a dogsled. I can't believe how paralyzed this city gets in the face of snow. I mean, it is a lot of snow, and the roads do get icy pretty quick, and the wind chill can be wicked cold, with the humidity...but the buses don't work, nobody shovels their sidewalks, people still drive like they're Nascar racers...it's nuts! So after I get back from the vets, and return the rental car...I 'spect there's going to be a lot of cozying up scheduled.

OK...off to excavate the cat carrier from the snowdrift it's buried under. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Again with the snow!

Wow, you'd think it was winter in Canada or something! We got another dump of snow overnight, and it's started coming down again this afternoon. At least it's warmed up a bit.

(No, I know it's nowhere near as frozen as it is in many, many other parts of the country. But if your boogers freeze, it still counts as pretty darned cold!)

The thing about snow here is that people are just not equipped to deal with it. Also, the smallest difference in altitude can make a huge difference in depth of snow and crappiness of roads. Those extra few inches of the white stuff go a long way to wreaking havoc. Mr.Q decided to brave it anyway, and went over to the North Shore to pick up some books. And, hopefully, stop by MEC on his way home and pick me up those gaiters I never got around to. Thing is, about the same time he left, the transit website posted a note that, because it had started snowing heavily again, roads on the North Shore were like to "become impassable" in the next few hours.

I called and told him not to spend too much time browsing. Just in case.

Meanwhile, we're stocked up with coffee, eggnog, Christmas cookies, and soup. I figure we're good for a snow day. And...woot! I finally finished the last of the Christmas knitting yesterday. Squee! (Not including Mr.Q's Viking Sweater of Doom, which has been moved back to a birthday present.) So now I get to settle in with something indulgent for myself. Will it be cashmere? Those Rivendell socks? A wrap? Something lacy? The possibilities are endless!

And...I'll even be able to take pictures of the knitting soon - and the snow, and the cats, and and and....- as my dear Baby Sister sent us her old camera with the Christmas package from home. I need a new card reader thingy, since the "new" card doesn't work with our old reader, but what the heck - it's a darn sight cheaper than replacing the camera!

I put up our "tree" (such as it is - pictures to follow soon! Woot!) and stockings yesterday; went for a stroll to check out the neighbourhood lights with a certain Piggy the other night; picked up the turkey this morning & sent it off with Other Sis for dinner on Thursday; and am so far doing a reasonable job of not opening the stocking stuffers (though I can't say the same for the cats; somebody sent them a wee giftie that they got right into last night...so we opened it for them: A catnip mouse. With a bell. That landed in the water dish. Good times.) And - I'm on holidays till after the New Year now. Feels a lot like Christmas, it does!

Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow day for really! (sort of)

Well, there wasn't enough snow this morning to cancel classes...but there was enough by lunchtime to send us all home early! Best of both worlds...an afternoon playing hooky, without losing a full day's wages. Woot! I gave my students detailed instructions on how to make the best snowballs (go softer for spatter, for better effect!) and how to make snow angels. I was able to get a couple crucial-but-piddly Christmas errands done downtown before coming home. I walked home from the bus and made the first impressions on untouched snow. There's something so satisfying about that, the shush of the powder across my shoes.

(I don't have boots. I haven't been able to find any that work for me. Maybe, as my hiking shoes are fairly water-resistant, I'll just give into the urge to geek out and get a pair of gaiters.)

There's nobody home upstairs, either, and everything has that muffled air to it that comes with a heavy snowfall. (And yes, all you who would mock us West Coasties, there is actually a fair bit on the ground, so put that in your snow shovel and, well, shovel it!) There's eggnog in the fridge that I'm pondering heating up and spiking with some of that rum. I'm in my PJs, debating whether to wash some dishes, or curl up with the cats.

Any bets on which I'll end up doing?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Checking it twice....

  • *"Away" knitting finished & sent off - check
  • *Cookies for cookie exchange done - check
  • *Secret Santa gift ready to take to work - check
  • *Christmas cards - a qualified check - I have to try & buy stamps tomorrow (wish me luck!)

I even get to cross Mr.Q's gift off my to-do list, since he's informed me that all he really, really, really wants is to see Ravi Shankar in May, so we booked his ticket today.

(So now I have that "I'm too organized, what am I missing?" voice in my head....)

But - it snowed last night! Not much, and thankfully on a weekend, thus minimizing the transit/traffic snarls that inevitably follow a snowfall out here. Still - it's cold enough that it stuck, and there are a few gimpy, malnourished snowmen around, and the mountains were struck with that pink-gold alpenglow at sunset, and now it really, truly feels Christmassy.

Bit of a Ravellers' gathering today, sharing some tasty food and mulled wine and conversation, as well as moral support while we plowed through gift knitting. I almost didn't go - still feeling the Monster Cold, and I was pretty tired - but though I was very quiet and non-productive, it was good to be with my peeps for an afternoon. Home again, it feels way later than it really is...a busy week ahead, I'll have to keep on top of this cold so I don't crash at the end of the week and spend Christmas sick! Maybe I should go get proactive with some of that *ahem* medicinal rum in the cupboard....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snow day...a leetle bit

Well, we had the first snow of the season here today. The snowfall lasted about 45 minutes, nothing stuck, and then it turned into a very cold rain which continued all day. Yucky, true, and no snow-day-in-PJs for the Quimbys...but those few snowflakes did the trick, I think. It finally feels like the Christmas season. Up until about 8:23 this morning, I just wasn't feeling it. But now - now I feel festive and celebratory.

That could have something to do with the rather large bottle of amber rum that sort of accidentally came home with me today. Which will shortly transmogrify into a hot toddy. With lots of honey and nutmeg.

Still feeling gross - thanks for the get well wishes! - but I can lay low for most of the weekend and rest up. (Also, did I mention the rum?) I'm not sick enough to knock me out. Just enough to make me a little crabby and sorry for myself. It's the first bug of the season, and I'm a big wuss.

I have got as far as taking the box of Christmas stuff out of the closet (it's still sitting on the desk in my Magic Room) and buying Christmas cards. Mostly I've been plowing through the "away" knitting, which needs to be finished by tomorrow. And probably won't be. Most of it has been washed, blocked where needed, and is ready to go...but a couple pieces are still damp, and I've got one UFO yet. We'll just see if that medicinal rum helps with the finishing tonight! (I want to take pictures, but the camera is definitely toast. Not that I could post them till after Christmas anyway...bah humbug!)

I'm hoping to get Christmas cards done up & mailed this weekend - good pajama work - and baking done for the cookie exchange at work on Monday. I also have a secret santa to find something for (knitting would probably give it away, non?) and a Ravelry knitters' "do" on Sunday.

Maybe not such a lazy weekend, after all! But (hopefully) fun and festive. I have to say - as busy as this weekend looks in print - this low-key Christmas thing is definitely preferable to facing hoards of ravening mall rats and screaming devil children with pointy sticks. And I have a two-week "staycation" (to borrow that very useful term from Rachel!) to look forward to, starting next week.

Woot woot!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You told me so?

When I learned to knit socks, people told me that turning the heel would be soooo hard. But I love it - it's like a little bit of yarny magic every time I do it, and it never fails to amuse and amaze me.

People kvetched about Kitchener stitching, too, how finicky and painful it is. But I don't mind it one bit. I think it's a cool little bit of sleight-of-hand, how eveything looks all tidy and seamless.

Picking up stitches? Not my favourite, but it's OK. You say you hate weaving in ends? Oh, suck it up. It's not that bad. It just means a project is this close to being finished! It's a little ritual formality to mark the transition from UFO to "frack yeah, I rock!"

So when I heard people complaining about seaming, I assumed it would be much the same. I mean, I can sew decently when I put my mind to it, and I don't mind it. Really, how bad could it be?

Yeah, well.

It blows. It blows stinky, smelly, goats. Not even cashmere ones.

And no rum left. Sigh.

(It might not seem so overwhelming if I wasn't so bloody SICK, thanks to all those diligent students who insist on coming to school and hacking their nasty germs all over the place. Stinkers. Poor me.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Encroaching Decrepitude

Yesterday in one of my classes, we were doing the usual "And what did you do this weekend?" round of questions. One of my students said she watched (and I quote) "a really, really old movie."

I, knowing she's a bit of a film buff, was thinking something along the lines of Breakfast at Tiffany's, or maybe an old Hitchcock film.

"What was it?" I asked.

"Dead Poets' Society."

Guess I'll go get in line for my walker now.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Zoom zoom zoom!

Cell phone is officially dead. Hopefully Mr.Q will have time to pick up a new one this week. I think he misses it. He borrowed mine a couple times over the weekend when he was running errands, and he called me every 7 or 8 minutes while he was out. (Maybe once it was 12 minutes between calls....)

My Very Fabulous Baby Sister has offered us her "old" camera - yay! (You should pop over to her blog and check out the video of the Kids' Christmas Dance from her church party...My nephew is the wee laddie in khaki cargo pants and glasses, with the awesome sense of rhythm. He obviously gets it from his aunt.)

(His other aunt, more likely!)

Finally starting to feel the Christmas spirit. (The first rum-and-eggnog of the season may have had something to do with it.) I suspect it will always feel weird without snow. But the neighbourhood lights are starting to come out, and people are humming Christmas music under their breath. Seems a lot of people are having a lower-key holiday this year, and the consensus is it's nice. (often said while heaving a huge sigh of relief!)

We'll be staying here again, having dinner with my Sis in Langley. I've got 2 weeks off, and plan on spending as much of that time as possible in my PJs. I'm starting to feel the itch to knit socks again. There are bath salts that need using up. Those important things. (Like - re-reading the Harry Potter series, as I seem to have signed myself up for the Knitting/Crocheting House Cup in 2009. I do hope I get sorted into Ravenclaw. Though Slytherin might be fun, too!)

(Yes, I'm a geek. Your point?)

Oh, and there was a rat behind our fridge. Good times. We caught it and Mr.Q took it far, far away from the house. (We figured it would be faster to catch it tonight, if we could, than set traps and wait for FSM knows how long, all the while hoping the cats - who are so fired! - didn't get their paws caught.) I think it was only inside for a day or so. The space behind the fridge has never been so clean or sterile as it is now! I'm really, really hoping this was a one-off, that it got in when Mr.Q left the door open for a bit on the weekend. Coz the weather's getting quite cold, and there's new construction just down the street. And we happen to be the closest house.

Yeah. Good times.

(How's that for completely random, plotless posting? More to come, I hope!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Coming up for air

Still alive, still conscious....been a crazy couple of weeks Chez Quimby...work wackiness for both of us (yes, Ma, we're both still employed. For the moment, anyway!) Insaner-than-usual for Mr.Q and band rehearsals; I'm buried under a mountain of Christmas knitting but have somehow also found myself signed up for a cookie exchange at work...will post more later if I can find the time this weekend. (No pictures, though, our camera finally died. Hopefully we'll be getting a new one for Christmas, but that depends on whether we need to replace Mr.Q's cell. Which is now very clean, having gone through the wash, but not especially functional. It's with a friend who's good with that kind of thing...please send Get Well Soon thoughts....)

Jeans Day! Yay!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lame Duck Post

Yarnpiggy tagged me for a knitting meme...and having nothing original to say for myself, I'm gladly (and finally!) taking up the challenge...so here goes!

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?
Hmmm.....Malabrigo sock would be one. Not as stretchy as some, but not splitty or any unpleasantness like that, and it feels soooooo sexy on the hands! (And feets, too!) I also really like BMFA Socks that Rock. A lot.

Your favorite needles?
I am luuurving my new Harmony circs! And they look so pretty in the yarn.

The worst thing you've ever knit?
Ummm....well....there was this stole I knit for a family friend a few years ago for Christmas. I had no idea what I was doing, really, I was still a very novice knitter. I used acrylic boucle -which was, to be fair, nice and soft - but a nightmare for a noob to be using! Especially with a project of that size. Knit lengthwise, entirely in garter stitch. On needles that were probably a size too small. And I didn't really understand why one should cast off loosely, so it was a very...ummmm....interesting geometric shape in the end.

Bless her, the recipient never said a word about it, and wore it all day. Don't know if she's put it on since, and don't want to know if I want to know! I'm knitting her something a little extra special this year, to make up for it.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)
Tuscany, once I got the hang of it. Easily-memorized sock patterns (NOT Charades!).


Most valuable knitting technique?
Learning how to pick up a dropped/missed yarn over. Also, lifelines.

Best knit book or magazine?
I'm honestly not all that familiar with a lot of knitting books or magazines. I read Interweave Knits, of course, and might just ask for a subscription for my birthday one of these years...On my wee knitting bookshelf, one of my favourite finds was a seriously discounted copy of Knitting Nature. (And, of course, the Yarn Harlot books...!)

Your favorite knit-a-long?

Umm...yeah...well...I do tend to jump on a lot of bandwagons, but have yet to see one through. The NaKniSweMo was a bomb - though I did accomplish my intended goal of knitting too much of a sweater not to finish it! Does the Ravelympics count? Coz that was way fun!


Your favorite knitwear designer?

???? No opinion.


The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)

Socks, of course! These two pairs in particular are my current faves:
The Smooshy Charades:
And the Malabrigo River Rapids:
Though the frequent wearing-of-the-socks is also due to the freezing temperature in my morning classrooms.

There. That's about all I've got for you at the moment. Coffee is waiting, and a pile of dishes and unfolded laundry. Good times.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't forget to floss!

A few quick, largely non-knitting notes...International Potluck at the school last week...I cooked up slices of elk sausage, and added a dish of maple syrup for dipping. YUM! Mr.Q earned a taste by doodling some cards to go with:


I'm not sure that the animal depicted wasn't a cross between an elk and the Grinch's dog, but it did the trick.

Dad was in town tonight for work, and Mr.Q and I, Sis & her husband all met up on Granville Island for some tasty burgers and beer. I tried to take a picture, and I think, if you look closely at the red eyes, you will notice that my sister appears to be a demon. I'm not sure, but I think the possibility bears further investigation.



Then we talked about weird, kind of gross things, and laughed so hard we could hardly breathe. I will never be able to hear the term "butt floss" again without collapsing helplessly in giggles. My stomach still hurts! It was fun.

Then, we found Greenland in B-I-L's beer:




It was just that kind of an evening.

Tomorrow: a whole lot o' nuthin', with some knitting and maybe squash soup thrown into the mix for fun. Also, for breakfast, some tasty pastries from the French bakery on Granville Island.

Which, incidentally, had these really cool-looking, round loaves of very, very dark bread for sale. I, thinking they were some kind of hard-core pumpernickel, asked about them. Mr.Q & I have a weakness for bread so dense you could build a house out of it, and this looked perfect! Only...it wasn't pumpernickel. It was sourdough. With - I kid you not - squid ink in it.

I didn't buy the bread.

Random cat shot of Brigid helping me change the cover on the couch:



G'night!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Two out of three ain't bad

Civic elections in BC yesterday...I could go on about the pathetic voter turnout (25%...yuck!) but I'd rather save myself the angst. Instead, I'll mention the Noro scarf that walked into the polling station as I was walking out. I'd have Kinneared her, if I'd been a little quicker on the draw. Anyway, it was just funny to spot a Noro handknit in the wild like that. And no more voting! Till May, anyhow.

There was more wilderness knit-spotting later in the afternoon, too, as Mr.Q accompanied me to the opening of Sweet Georgia Yarn's new studio space. He really is the perfect trophy husband for a knitter, and didn't ask any questions when I asked for his Mastercard before we left. I only bruised it a little in the falling-down...one skein of sock yarn, and one of silk lace-weight that was seriously - literally - shiny. Someday when the light is good enough to do them justice, I will post a pic or two. It's not worth even trying, otherwise, it's just that sexy.

An interesting election-related observation on the bus home late in the afternoon...a little old man, who spoke barely a lick of English, got himself on what he obviously hoped was the right bus, going in the right direction. From the sound of his very thick accent, he was originally from Eastern Europe. There was a lot of gesticulating and charades going on while he got himself sorted out. He was clearly taking an unfamiliar route, and was clearly determined to get where he was going, despite the challenges.

When he got off a few stops later, it became obvious that his goal was the neighbourhood polling station. He was going to vote, dammit, age, infirmity, language barriers, the vagaries of public transit, and geographic disorientation be damned.

I 'spect he really gets the notion of "use it or lose it." I wish more people did...sigh.

Politics aside...the NaKniSweMo sweater is making more progress than I'd thought, but finishing by Nov.30th is highly unlikely. There is a chance, though, that I might get the body finished by then. The arms won't be so much to tackle, after.

I wore Tuscany to work on Friday (again with the crappy light and no pics). I really am enchanted with the new colour, and can see doing a lot more dyeing in the future. I was a little disappointed that no-one commented on it, given the ribbing I often get for knitting in public. I figure there are two possibilities: it looked ridiculous on me (the "wings" are rather long) and they were being polite by not saying anything; or they assumed it was "store-bought". I'm going with the latter, as I really am proud of it (not in a vain way, either, just kind of astonished that I did that! Holy cow! Did I really do that?) And I'll refrain from commenting on the sad state of things, when "it looks/tastes/sounds store-bought" is the highest societal bar for judging quality.

I'm trying to work on a Malabrigo keyhole scarf, as a relief from the Sweater of Doom, but the pattern is kicking my arse. I think I've figured out the problem - two different translations to English, one being inaccurate, and that, of course, being the one I was trying to use. Got it now, but in the process, I've stumbled across another pattern - lacier, which is not necessarily what I was going for. But easier to understand, and knit lengthwise instead of sideways. Sideways is a charming idea, but casting on and binding off that many stitches...maybe not so appealing. I'll see how I feel in the morning.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I get dye with a little help from my friends.

A certain yarnpiggy of my acquaintance happened to have a dye pot I could borrow, and a free afternoon to lend me moral support. The mission: overdye the nasty colour changes in the Tuscany shawl, so I could finally wear it.

Before:


After:

Close up:


Things I have learned from this adventure:

1) following directions may have resulted in the colour I'd actually intended...but wouldn't have been nearly as much fun (and I love the midnight-blue that I ended up with!);

2) blocking sucks, which leads to #3;

3) I need blocking wires;

4) there are an astonishing number of ways to make bad plays on the word "dye"; and

5) cat hair doesn't take dye. You know, for future reference. In case I ever turn into that much of a crazy cat lady.

Thanks to all who sent happy thoughts! I think it worked.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A pleasant surprise

I left work this afternoon with the most virtuous of intentions...tomorrow being a stat holiday, I thought I would catch up on marking. I mean, it's basically a paid day off, so why not do the work while I'm getting paid anyway? I sorted out the papers on my desk, printed out current marking sheets, even found an empty file folder, so stuff wouldn't get mangled or stabbed in my pack.

I just sat down to plow into it...and realized that I left one batch of writing assignments on my desk; neglected to bring home the answer key for another exercise; and had only brought home the sheaf of quizzes that had already been marked by one of the student teachers assigned to my classes.

So that took all of 10 minutes. Nice. I mean, I'll have to do the marking over lunches this week, but I'd just as soon have tomorrow free of extra obligations. And it's not like I'm being a lazy bum or procrastinating or anything, even. (Just disorganized, but I can live with that!)

Not that there's anything wrong with being a lazy bum from time to time. But I do have other, rather important plans for tomorrow, so having the extra time is certainly a bonus.

(And, if I wanted to be really forthcoming, I could confess that I've already spent an hour or more tonight working on lesson plans. So I really can relax guilt-free. Not that I was feeling guilty, but, you know, if I were. Which I wasn't. But even so.)

I'm going a little stir-crazy, truth be told. I've been going a little overboard on the Black Hole of Viking Sweater Doom, and needed to give my hands a rest today. The not-knitting is making me a little batty. I'm hoping it pays off in the long term.

I'm missing the Malabrigo, though. Or something soft. I sometimes feel like I'm knitting a giant brillo pad. (I'm exaggerating a little, I s'pose. But I'm also scoping patterns for that cashmere in my stash, for afterward...)

Mmmkay. 'Nuff stalling. Baby bro's just popped up on MSN from India, gonna go touch base with him and be all big-sister-y and stuff.

Tune in tomorrow for more yarny adventures. I hope. As opposed to mis-adventures. Send me happy thoughts?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I so should be doing housework right now.....

But it's a rainy, sleeping-in Sunday kind of morning, post-coffee & Baileys, pre-breakfast, and I don't feel like sweeping. Though I have got as far as putting some laundry in....whether it gets folded today remains to be seen!

Lots of knitting this week...some progress made on the Viking Sweater...much, much more to go! I've taken to knitting "publicly" in the staff room at lunch time, which hasn't led to as much mocking as I might have expected. Possibly brandishing the pointy sticks at the very beginning may have thwarted some of that.

(Though it's interesting, the perceptions people have. One colleague asked me how long it would take me to knit up a simple hat. I estimated a few hours; he asked me how much I would charge. I said, "You pay for the yarn, buy me a bottle of Baileys, and we'll call it even." He thought that was kind of pricy. If he brings it up again, I'll suggest that he pay me my regular hourly wage for the 5 or 6 hours of my time, as well as for my skill and knowledge. That may shut him up.)

Progress on the sweater:

Anyhoo. Friday night I was signed up for a Freeform Knitting class downtown...a bit of a gong show trying to get home, organized, fed, and back downtown, thanks to the appalling traffic, but I did get there, and only a few minutes late. I'd been talked into it (ha! my rubber arm twisted right out of shape!) by a fellow Raveller, and it was a lot of fun.

We built a colour wheel out of a table full of yarn:

Then sat down and started knitting random shapes into each other for three hours. I tried to go outside the blue box, and wasn't as happy as I could have been with my colours...but it was good to Take a Risk, such as it was. Plae's knitting was much more experimental and cool:

Mine was less impressive, but....But. I was there to play, and learn something new, and I did both. Here's my piece, such as it is:

I played with yarn-overs all on my own, for the first time. I picked up all kinds of stitches, knit random increases & decreases, tried different ways of joining yarn...played with short rows for something other than sock heels, which was totally cool...I don't know that this kind of patchwork knitting is for me, per se. But it was a good lesson in thinking outside the box and trusting what I know, as well as just feeling free to experiment, screw up, try again, and move on if it doesn't work out. And a lesson in how much I do know about knitting - more than I thought - and just how much more there is too learn - way more than I'd imagined! Within about 5 minutes of walking into the room, I felt totally over my head...and went into sponge mode, sucking it all up. Definitely a good way to spend a Friday evening!

Eep! I need to get going on breakfast...hoping I have a Granville Island date to finally get the dye for Tuscany...Gratuitous kitty cuteness, to close with:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Blowing Goats, and other family-rated fun

I think it's about time for me to quit pretending that the mythical "extra hour of sleep" this weekend was a good thing. I think it's about time to proclaim the truth: Daylight Savings blows hairy, stinky, non-cashmere goats. It is way too dark for 7:30. I am trying really hard not to go to bed yet - because I woke up at 4:00, which was really 5:00 as far as my body was concerned, coz I fell asleep at 8:30 (9:30). And it was dark and pouring rain this morning, and now it's dark and cold, and all I want to do is eat potatoes and cheese. (Which I could do something about, so I made myself a big dish of scalped potatoes for supper, with leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Screw that vat of uber-healthy, mostly-organic veggie soup I cooked up yesterday. I heart potatoes and cheese.)

I have bloody jet-lag, and I didn't even get to go on a trip.

And I'm already 3 rows behind on my NaKniSweMo project.

And I still have to change the litter box tonight.

Wah.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ready....Set....Knit!

Halloween was quiet Chez Quimby last night. Mr.Q had a gig, I stayed home and kept the cats in until the fireworks and hollering died down outside. I did wear a costume for work, and of course neglected to take a photo of the whole get-up. I got one of my face with my phone camera:


What you can't see are the curly tail and tufted ears that I was quite proud of, thankyouverymuch! Or the bits of feather stuck to my shirt and gloves. It was great fun walking around swiping and hissing at students who hadn't done their homework. And purring when I got petted. Mrrroww!

But no parties or hooliganism for me. I stayed home, watched a DVD, and blasted through some more Christmas knitting. Which I am now putting away for the month of November, since I am clearly crazy and have decided to do this:


Some time ago, Mr.Q absolved me from making him more socks for awhile, if I would knit him a sweater. Again with the clearly-crazy thing, I decided that I could think of nothing more fun than knitting a sweater for a hulking Viking. NaKniSweMo is probably the only chance I have of getting a decent start on the thing. I'm not necessarily expecting to get it done in a month (though of course my competitive nature may have something to say about that!) but I'm hoping that I'll at least get enough done that I'll be motivated to plow through and finish it in time for Christmas.

(Along with, you know, all that other Christmas knitting I've assigned myself. Because clearly, I am a certifiable wingnut.)

Anyhoo. After I finish a few odds and ends this morning, and fortify myself liberally with coffee & Baileys, bought specially for the occasion, I am going to cast on and get down to business. I'm going to take a whole pile of this:



And see if I can't turn it into this. I did a swatch last night, and...ummm...well, it's going to be a fine, rugged outerwear sweater. And the yarn's not too bad to knit with - a lot better than I'd expected, actually. But I have been really spoiled with The Good Stuff lately, and Malabrigo, it is not. This is Real Wool - sturdy, a bit rough, and sheepy-smelling. A back-to-the-roots kind of thing. I'm feeling kind of pioneer-y or something. Yeah, that's it. A regular Laura Ingalls Wilder, except with central heating and Harmony circs and a Bodum. And no corset, that's important, too.

Alrighty, then. I do think the coffee's ready...awa we gae!

Monday, October 27, 2008

File under: Things You Don't Hear Every Day.

Shortly after dinner chez Quimby, the following exchange took place, as Mr. Q was online checking the bus schedule:

Me: "Where are you going? I thought you said you were going to do the dishes."

He: "I'll do them when I get back. I won't be long, I'm just running out to buy a sword."

Me: "Oh. OK then. Have fun, see you when you get home."

I love Halloween. I have to dress up for work, and I'm trying to decide between a ban-sidhe (more work, creepier, very thematically-appropriate for the Celtic New Year) or a black cat (less work, less creepy, also appropriate for the day. Though I'd prolly resemble a fat lazy housecat, more than a witch's familiar)

If I'd thought of it in time, I'd have collected a bunch of paper bags, made a dress, and gone as The Paper Bag Princess. Somewhere I'm going to have to start keeping track of all these great Halloween ideas. Harumph.

I'm stalling on marking. Progress Reports (glorified report cards) due this week, and I'm ready to be done with the marking thing. Also, with Mondays. Somebody put it perfectly yesterday: There are far too many Mondays in a week. (Though actually mine was OK!)

Waiting outside a Starbucks yesterday for a friend who was stuck in traffic (the only coffee shop around, for the record, it's not like I go there on purpose) I was knitting away, and a tourist marched up to me, obvious purpose in her stride. It was a little disconcerting, but I had pointy sticks in hand, so I figured I was safe.

"You're knitting!" she exclaimed.

"Yes, yes I am."

"What are you making?"

"A hat."

"What are you using?"

"Malabrigo....?" (I was unsure if she'd have any idea what I was talking about.)

"I'm a yarn store owner from New York. Here's my card."

(ummmmm.....cashmere and silk....I did NOT need to look at her website! Fortunately she doesn't do mail order!) She was looking for the nearest LYS, saw me knitting, and figured I could point her in the right direction. We had a lovely little chat before I sent her up Main Street.

I heart Knitters.

(Her husband was awfully nice, too.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Procrastinating

I am totally stalling. I have an old friend from high school in town. We're meeting at a pub downtown in a couple of hours - prolly haven't seen each other in 5 years, and I'm really looking forward to catching up. Except that I don't want to leave the house, or even my PJs. Mr.Q has kindly gone to get groceries himself, giving me a little more time before I have to be functional. And instead of having a shower, or folding laundry, or working on my Italian homework - all of which need doing - I am downloading photos from the last week. Want to see?

First flaming Sambuca ever, on my birthday - I'd wanted something else, with mango liqueur and rum, but the waiter wouldn't let me. He said it was a bad idea with all the masala spices in my meal, and I should have this instead, it would clear my palate. "But I don't like Sambuca!" I said. He and Mr.Q both just gave me a look. I caved. I was glad. It was really good! I'm going to have to start lighting all my drinks on fire.


Out and about yesterday afternoon...I love the colours here this time of year:



And this just made me want to kick up the leaves and make them crunch:


Laying low last night with some DVDs, the cats were even cuter than usual:





A note about the green towel - gawd, I'm just looking at those pictures again, and thinking I shouldn't post them, given the hideously mish-mashed colour scheme in that corner! The green towel is the biggest we have, it's a lot easier to wash the cat hair off of that on a regular basis, than the futon cover. Obviously, our "colour scheme" is less along the lines of carefully-chosen complementary tones, and more like "what's on hand just now without having to do more laundry that isn't already covered in a furry layer of cat hair."

And speaking of laundry (how's that for a graceful segue to an exit?) I have to go switch another load over, and then really start getting organized.

Is it already Monday again tomorrow? Wah!

Friday, October 24, 2008

People are fracked.

So I was going to post about the flaming drink I had on my birthday, and new yarn, and the fall colours, and the new baby I got to smell today...but on my way to Blogger, I stopped by Frank's blog. And. Oh. My. Fucking. Gawd. I can't believe what some people get up to in their free time.

(Or, maybe not so free. Whaddya wanna bet these guys get paid for this shite? And it's interesting that the signatories are all guys.)

Now, I know I'm not American...so y'all might be asking what this has to do with me...but I can tell you, I am as aware as anybody that what happens below the 49th usually has an impact up here, too. Plus there's that tiny little issue of human rights. (Also, we saw the trailer for Milk on the weekend, which I'm stoked to go see, and that's prolly got me in the mood for a little soapbox action, too.)

The ridiculousity of these threats, made so brazenly, just sickens me.

Though they surprise me not in the least.

There are days that, faced with the suck-wattage of some human beans, I swear I only want to get out of my bed long enough to hide under it, a pile of blankets over my head. I'm sure Singe would bring me something to eat once in awhile.

(Fortunately, the new-baby smell today has inoculated me a little against completely losing faith in humanity. For now.)

Whether or not Mr.Q and I have the wherewithal to donate at this moment remains to be seen. But I can tell you it is a conversation we'll be having when he gets home. Knitting (and fundraising knitters) have shown that a lot of little bits add up right quick. At the very least, I can do this to put it out there for the world to see, or the wee bit of it that might stop by for a visit.

So there you have it. Happy Friday.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Burfi-day to my feets!

It's my birthday today. And I am so glad to finally be as old as I've been thinking I am all year. Confused? Yeah, me too. And I have been since early February. Comes with spending a lot of time with Asian students who celebrate the Lunar New Year. Which is a cool festival, and a really big deal in Vancouver, and I totally enjoy all of the cultural exchange kind of stuff. But this year - the Year of the Rat - is "my" year. Which, in February, led to a lot of people counting off on their fingers and coming up with my age. Only my birthday's nowhere near February, so all year I've had to stop and think and count, and got it wrong as often as not, and have generally been more confused than usual on the issue. Thank goodness that's all over for another 12 years! (When I will be 24. Again.)

Keeping it low-key today...Mr.Q's taking me for Indian food after work, and then I have a knitting meet-up. I'm going to take myself out for a fancy-pants coffee before work, maybe. But...but but but! After putting River Rapids Sock #2 on hold to knit hats for an army...I buckled down and finished 'em off, so's they'd be done in time to wear just for today.

They're not quite as bright as they look here - but they are, in fact, a little shiny:




Hooray for toasty shiny toes!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

We will sock you

Forget Greg Kinnear, dudes. Look who I got to hold my sock tonight:


Just in case you need another hint:
(Gosh, that bass player behind him is kind of cute, don't you think?)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Warning: the post you are about to read may contain language. Viewer discretion is advised.

Fuck.

Fuckity fuck fuck.

Fuck.

Well, that was about the most fun I ever had, wasting $300,000,000. Thanks, Stevie. You know, if I wasted that kind of money against my employers' wishes, my ass would be so fired.

A couple notes for you, Mr.Harper, just a couple things to keep in mind:

*You do know, I hope, that the whole "Ordinary Canadians don't care about the arts, so I'm just going to slash arts funding" cost you Quebec. And a majority goverment. (To the Quebecois - merci beaucoup!)

*That whole not keeping election promises thing? Newfoundland is probably not the last province that will shut you out, if you keep that up. (Yay Newfies!)

*Umm....38% of the popular vote is not a "clear mandate to govern." It's a clear message that you had damned well better learn to play well with others, coz I doubt your party is going to accept another minority under you. I mean, if your MPs were actually allowed to have opinions or anything like that. Which they obviously aren't, but, you know, if they were. Hypothetically speaking. But it is obvious that the Canadian people have an opinion on that. And they didn't give you a clear mandate for anything but a short leash, pal.

At least, those of us who chose to exercise our right to express that opinion did, anyway.

People. Come on. Fifty-eight percent voter turnout? Jumpin' jeezus on a pogo stick. That is just fucking pathetic. Use it or lose it.

Fuckity fuck fuck.

Off to face a bunch of overprivileged apathetic gits, who think that "the goverment" should be solely responsible for everything - but without using any of their tax dollars, thankyouverymuch. Heads out of the arses, please, people!

Fuck.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Me, cynical? No way! (OK, Way)

Today, I had an important decision to make: walk down to the polling station before work, get it over with, and give up any chance of a seat on the bus downtown; or take the smelly, crazy, poky bus back to the 'hood after work, vote, and walk 20 minutes home on one of the (probably) last pseudo-sunny days of the year.

Kind of a no-brainer, when I put it like that. And it was indeed a nice walk home. Mr.Q had gone to vote about a half-hour before I did, and volunteered to run some errands & meet me at the coffee shop so we could walk home together. So. Civic duty done. For what it's worth. Am trying to find somewhere online that will be streaming the results as they come in. Only rarely do I miss having a TV, but tonight is one of those times. (Then again, do I really need to hear the pundits saying the same thing over and over for hours? Maybe not so much!)

I get frustrated with the political apathy I see around me all the time. Especially during an election. I think it bugs me so much - and I take voting so seriously - because the date of the last provincial election was the same date that women in Kuwait won the right to vote. And my goodness, if that doesn't give a gal some perspective, what will?! Anyway. Not going to dwell on it at the moment. We'll see what we wake up to tomorrow.

Sigh.

('ve also got a rant in me about over-privileged idjits with their entitled heads up their arses, but I'm feeling just a leetle too over-heated there! Maybe I'll cool down a bit before wading into that...)


Monday, October 13, 2008

Gobble Gobble!

So why, one might ask, would someone go to all the trouble of making all of this...


...for just the two of us? (Dudes, I made the cranberry sauce. I even used real pumpkin for the pie!)

(Though in the interest of full disclosure, I bought frozen pie shells. Even I have my limits. And pie pastry hates me.)

Anyway. Back to the issue at hand. Why would one go through all that effort - not to mention dirty dishes - for 2 people?

This is why:



Toast with chicken and gravy. The ultimate in left-over comfort food. And it's raining today, and I made this for my lunch while cooking up a vat of chicken stock. A holiday Monday just doesn't get much better than that! (Well, in the fall, anyway. I can think of better things to be doing in the summer, involving gin, tonic, and a lake, to start...but for the fall, this will do quite nicely!)

I've also got a couple more wee knitting projects finished up, but no pics for you, sorry to say. My baby sis reminded me that family members young and not-so-young alike visit here on a regular basis, and let's be honest - at this point, the knitting's for Christmas. No point in posting spoilers!

Back to work-a-day life tomorrow. And the election, of course. Is it just me, or does this one seem kind of blase? I could wax all philosophical about it - and just may, tomorrow, if the mood strikes. All the options being as gimpy as they are, though, I don't know that it wouldn't just be a bitch-fest. Which isn't where I want to spend my energy today!

Happy Turkey Day!

(Though really, that would be just as appropriate tomorrow...sigh!)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Long weekend bliss

I remember, a long time ago, having a conversation with a couple people I'd graduated from high school with. We were talking about how weird it was to be all growed up, and to have opinions on things like thread count in sheets, and good kitchen knives, and how it was possible (gasp!) to actually be too tired for sex.

I think I've got another one to add to the list: waking up at 7:30 am on a Saturday now constitutes "sleeping in." Oy! But - it does make for a productive morning, and a good thing, too. We got out the door as early as we could to get the grocery shopping done, in a bid to avoid the Thanksgiving/long weekend rush. Seems like we weren't the only people with that idea; it was crazier than usual at our cramped little neighbourhood grocery. But we escaped relatively unscathed (Oddly, Mr.Q was the one traumatized by the crowds. Usually I'm the one who ends up curled up under the produce bins, breathing into a paper bag...) And now we don't really have to leave the house for the rest of the weekend! Except for a few essentials, like, oh, Baileys and some DVDs. But Mr.Q's out in the 'hood as I type, procuring those last supplies, including a library book that I've been waiting months to come in.

So I think we're going to hole up for the next 2 1/2 days, watch the first season of Lost, knit, read, listen to records, cuddle with the cats, and generally hang out in our PJs. We'll do a mini-Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow - I picked up a free-range chicken at the butcher shop this morning, and may even bake a pumpkin pie to go with it. But with only two of us here, I'm really doing it more for the leftovers & chicken soup. Mmmmm!

In the meantime, the second eggplant is done, and was just about as much fun as the first:



I've also got the first stocking-stuffer done - a hat for my nephew (I owe him one, as apparently the one I made him a couple of winters ago was rather scritchy. That was before I discovered Malabrigo, which I used for this one...mmmmmmmMalabrigo!)


Finally...Singe has been getting in some good practice for the weekend:


(Is it just me, or does he look like he's running on his side?)

And the other beasties have been reminding us who's boss:


Not quite sure how the Mr. got himself out from under that, actually. I suspect the siren call of his preferred beer helped.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Edited to add...Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that I ran into Crochet Guy on the bus the other day. He was sitting next to this woman knitting 2 socks on circular needles. I thought she was the woman I'd met at the yarn sale, who also knits on my bus, so I sat down next to them and we started talking. Rather uncharacteristically bold of me, actually. After a few minutes, though, I realized that she was not who I'd thought - oops! - but she was quite friendly nonetheless. And when I told her my mistake, she knew who I was talking about - and told me about yet another regular knitter on the same bus route, who does hats. Something in angora this week. Seems the #4 is quite the crafty bus! It does make up for some of the "challenges" (to put it mildly) of taking public transit on a regular basis. We should just start holding meetings, maybe giving lessons. Resistance is futile!)