Sunday, February 24, 2008

Helpful cats

Because it's so much easier to knit lace with a cat on your lap, hunting the yarn, your circular needles, and your fingers.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sit on my face, and tell me that you love me....

I haven't had much sleep the last week, so when I got home from work yesterday, I thought I'd have a nap. My plans were thwarted, quite soundly:

What the picture fails to convey is the windshield-wiper action that was going on with the tail. Also, Mr.Q's sadistic delight at my discomfort. However, the picture clearly shows who's the boss of me. And I've had that stoopid Monty Python song in my head ever since.

I have garlic roasting for supper, to be spread on a baguette, which will in turn sop up the baked brie-and-blackberry-jelly I am about to put in the oven. The occasion? I'll illustrate, with a little gratuitous nudity:

The First Day of Naked Feet!

(edited to add an after-dinner-note-to-self: However extravagantly jubilant the occasion, keep in mind that an entire (large) head of roasted garlic just might be a little too much for one person. I'm just saying.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Out & About

We had a real live date night on Friday, with cheesecake and everything. It was very exciting. We went to see an old friend play some new tunes, and enjoyed ourselves very much. So did the Singe sock:

In fact, the sock was having so much fun that Mr.Q was rather taken aback by the spectacle:

What can I say? It was very good cheesecake!

We bookended the weekend with a little outing with Jel & a friend of hers. We poked around a couple of yarn stores (conveniently located next to a couple of record stores, which could have been a recipe for disaster, but both Mr.Q & I were surprisingly disciplined!) We followed it up with a walk on the beach, which was chilly but soooooo nice & sunny.

Anyway. I'm in no hurry for Monday. It's been a lazy, lovely, sleeping-in-and-getting-breakfast-in-bed kind of weekend. Cuddles with cats, wine with Jel, a new sock started. And Mr.Q & I have decided to have a bona fide romantic getaway over the Easter weekend. We spent a couple of hours online, looking for something close enough that holiday weekend traffic wouldn't be a huge issue, but distant enough to feel like we were "getting away from it all". We found this place - perfect for holing up for 2 days with a stack of books, a couple of guitars, a pile of yarn, and lots of wine and cheese and crusty bread. Whee!

It feels terribly extravagant. We've never done anything as batty as book a B&B! It's more like "let's find somewhere we can camp for free." But maybe not in March. Camping in March on the coast would be more like spending two days stuck in the van, miserable and damp and cold. So instead we're going to this little cottage for 2 nights. It feels so grown up! Or like stuff you see people do on TV or something. Crazy!

(But, well, what with all that money we won't be spending on the band now - what the hell!)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

In the land down under

Jel took me out last night for a consoling hot chocolate and some knitting-in-public - a combination guaranteed to improve my outlook on life in general. As we were getting close to the coffee shop, she asked me to keep my eyes open for parking. She noted that every time we go to this particular cafe, we seem to end up in the same parking space, next to a now-defunct nightclub/exotic show lounge.

"Yes," I agreed. "We generally have good luck around this corner, in front of Uranus."

Dead pan faces for just a moment, before we dissolved into giggles.

I'm moderately embarrassed to admit just how entertaining we found that notion. I guess it's a good indicator if just how much I needed a good laugh - and what a great pal Jel is! - that the joke kept going all night.

"Easy to remember where the car's parked!"

And: "Look! A lucky penny! I found it right around the corner from...."

And so on. I think we freaked out the barista with our snickering. I do think that's one of the litmus tests of a true friend. Not only will they share their wine (and whine) and cheese and chocolate and honesty and compassion and knitting patterns with you. They'll even devolve into potty humour when needed.

I was in a much lighter mood when I came home. And the car was right where we left it...And I have to say, that is the worst name imaginable for an "exotic show lounge"!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sex, lies, and audiotape

Well, there was a brief flirtation this week with the notion of trying to sort out conflicts within the band. Very brief. It has quickly been replaced by mudslinging of the most vicious, immature kind. Of course, the two responsible for it have managed to catch Mr.Q squarely in the crossfire - and apparently in such a way that they have both managed to squirm out of being called onto the carpet for their actions, past and present, which have culminated in this mess. And in such a way that looks like the end of one of his oldest friendships, with the fourth member of the band.

Is Mr.Q totally faultless? Well, I suppose he could have called "bullshit" a long time ago, either ending it before it escalated to this point, or possibly (thin hope!) of nipping some stuff in the bud. Really, though, from my perspective, he's been used as the buffer/filter for the dysfunctional relationships among his bandmates.

I am really going to try to refrain from posting much more about this. And from posting certain details of the situation which aren't mine to tell, however much I think they need to be made public. Possibly, I may explode from that effort. I shall endeavour to make sure I am nowhere near any unprotected yarn if that happens. As per Barb's advice, I am going to try and console myself with the pretty new yarn and VERY large chocolate bar that I got in the mail yesterday from a sock-yarn-swap partner. And maybe just a swig of tequila. (As for your suggestion, Rabbitch m'dear, as far as the angst goes - as soon as the papers are signed here, I plan on avoiding any more of that for rather a while, if I can! I 'spect more of the tequila may help there.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Out with a bang

Remember that scene from Monty Python & the Holy Grail, where King Arthur battles the Black Knight? The knight just won't give it up, even when limb after limb falls off him. He probably dies some ignominious death by drowning in that little stream he's guarding.

Well, watching the band disintegrate over the last while has been sort of like that fight scene...everything falling apart, but nobody wanted to be the one to call it quits. Until it totally imploded from the strain and negativity. Last night's CD release should have been triumphant - months of hard work, top ten radio charts, an upcoming tour, all in support of a very fine album. A full house of enthusiastic friends and fans. And instead, it was indeed their swan song.

The weakness of the band has always been the toxic relationship between two of the members in particular, and the tension created by it. Two people who are reasonably functional away from each other, but together are like hydrogen and an open flame. And of course, each one completely denying any responsibility for their own part in the mess, or for the effects of the fallout on their bandmates & the future of the band. (Not that I think it's equally weighted between the two, but I'm really biting my tongue here.)

The irony is that it's this tension which has always come out as electricity onstage. The band never played so well as when these two were pissed at each other. And unsurprisingly, given the all-new-high of animosity between them, last night's show - their last - was probably the best, most compelling performance they've ever given.

They were absolutely fucking brilliant. I'm glad they went out on a high note.

I think I'm more upset today than Mr.Q about the whole thing. He seems lighter than he has in months. He says he's just relieved finally came to a head, and it's done. But me,'s a little heartbreaking to see someone I love sooooo close to their dream, to have it jeopardized because of a couple people who couldn't get their collective shit together.

Fortunately, if there's one thing Mr.Q is not lacking, it's other, equally worthy opportunities for creative & musical outlets. He'll just be a little more cautious next time around. In the meantime, we're going to have dinner with some friends (they're making a moose roast, and I've made chocolate mousse for dessert. It seemed appropriate!) And spend the rest of the day thinking not about the interpersonal politics, but about last night's bloody brilliant music.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


I think I've just figured out how to get the photos from my cell to the internets to my blog....whew! The phone doesn't take the greatest pics, but as a I don't have to worry if I forget my camera! Many's the time I've seen something really cool, or funny, or crazy (like the giant moose in the yarn store awhile ago) and smacked myself for not having the camera. Even when I intended to bring it along. So! Now I can be a better blogger. (And beat some butter for better blogger batter...) (Don't mind me. I'm not sure if I had too much sleep last night, or not enough. But there's been a lot of coffee so far, and no breakfast yet, and the caffeine has rather gone to my head....)

Anyway, here's one of the first photos I tried to take with my phone, the day we got them. (I am addicted to blogging...the first thing Mr.Q did was set up his voice mail and transfer his contacts from his old phone - very sensible - but I wanted to figure out the camera so I could use it in the afore-mentioned situations...just doing my geek dance now!)

It's so very 21st-Century: going at his cellphones like a gunslinger with a pair of 6-shooters. The cats, as you can see, found it quite fascinating.

Anyway! Off to get the day started...It's the CD release show tonight, and here's hoping it goes well. I think some of my students are coming out for it - a little weird, but cool. There are new T-shirts and everything. Mr.Q even went and got his ears de-waxed at the clinic this morning, in preparation. I guess he figured a hair appointment or a manicure wouldn't rock his socks.

(Apparently 15 years of wearing earplugs almost daily, on job sites and at shows, will compact the stuff. He had one ear almost totally plugged. Eeeeew! I guess it had affected his hearing even more than he thought, coz now he's walking around listening to flies sneeze or some such thing.)

And now that I've got the phone-camera worked out, maybe I'll be able to Kinnear some local rock-n-roll hot shots tonight. It's good to have goals.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bloody rickin' frackin' stoopid crocodile-heads

I was really looking forward to blogging this week. I've been saving up some posts for awhile, waiting for this week to unleash upon you a major gush-fest about my fabulous, super-talented, rock-star-in-the-making husband. His band is releasing their 3rd indie CD this week, and it's good. And they're actually getting some press. And college radio play (debuted in the top 30 on one listing; top ten in another! Woo hoo!) They were featured in a paper with province-wide distribution. They have a release show this weekend, and an initial short tour planned for later in the spring. Not quite the cover of the Rolling Stone, but still pretty cool for a bunch of musicians from small-town BC.

However, there are some internal "issues" (to put it mildly) that look very well like they mean the end of 5 years of hard work. Right now, we're just hoping they make it to their show on Saturday, never mind anything past that. I really, really want to vent in detail, but I am going to spare you, Dear Readers, the sordid details. At least for the moment. And I'd prefer to spare Mr.Q the repercussions of an ill-advised display of snarkiness, at this point in the game.

But it's really, really hard to keep my mouth shut when I see how frustrated and sad he is. I think I'm losing even more sleep over it than he is. I just want to go charging in, brandishing my knitting needles, and slap some people upside the head. But I can't. And prolly my getting arrested for assault with a weapon (would the needles be considered "deadly"?) would be the last straw for Mr.Q just now. If y'all could send him some happy thoughts this weekend, he sure could use them.

(I am, of course, hoping this latest crisis will blow over....and though it seems highly unlikely this's still pretty cool to have the rockstar-of-the-week in my house. Doing my dishes. And, well, you know. All the benefits of being a groupie without the plaster casting. Never mind. Ahem.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck...?

If today were its birthday?

I dunno, you'll have to ask my mother. Partly coz she's so smart (she's The Mom, she knows everything!) and partly coz she's the birthday diva today:

Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you!

I've really noticed, since I cut my hair short again, how much I look like her. Which is mostly fine. Except when I go home for a visit and people think I'm her and ask me how the grandkids are. Grrrrr! Well, Ma, I guess that's a compliment to you! But maybe I need to think about some anti-wrinkle cream or something.

On the knitting front, I decided to take a bit of a break from Mr.Q's socks (how do I forget so quickly that his feet are so big?!) and welcome the new cell phone to the family with its own knitted cozy. Yesterday, I started out with some Paton's SWS in (I think) the "natural geranium" colourway, some dpns, and a vague idea of what I wanted - a pouch with a flap, felted. What I first got was this:

Then I "dreadlocked" it in just a few minutes by mushing it up by hand in a bowl of hot water:

And it's just perfect! I even have a wee button that's exactly right, to sew on when it's dry. Someone (naming no names, mother, since it's your birthday!) asked me what the point was. Well, aside from giving the phone a bit of protection when it's banging around in my bag or pack - useful enough, given that I've indentured my soul to my telecommunications provider for some time to come! - there were two unexpected, small-yet-personally-satisfying benefits:

1) Knitting without a pattern. Certainly I've been fudging and adapting patterns for awhile now; done some fun experimentation with hats and socks - but even those were variations on a common recipe, something I'd done before. Granted, this wee cozy was super-simple...but it's really the first thing I've done totally out of my head, without any kind of a pattern or guideline. Just me, my sticks-n-string, and a bit of faith in my knowledge and experience. It's a baby-step up in my roundabout wanderings from knitter to Capital-K-Knitter. Perhaps not quite enough to break out the champagne and party hats (though I did add a little extra Bailey's to my coffee this morning!) But I do believe that a wee self-congratulatory pat on my own shoulder isn't out of order.

2) It's pink. Which is almost as shocking as the fact that it's not-blue. Some of you may have noticed, in passing, that blue is my favourite colour. Enough so that my stash can be divided into two sub-sets: "Blue Yarn", and the much-smaller collection of "Not-Blue Yarn." But I've been increasingly drawn to other colours over the last few months. Not to the exclusion of blue, but in addition to. I've been indulging that, somewhat, and have some lovely fibre (and even a couple items of clothing) to show for it.

But I noticed something, the last couple times I was at the yarn store -as good a place as any for exploring colour! I would be drawn to something, touch it, love it, then dismiss it as "too bright" or "too bold" or "too girly" - not as a matter of preference; rather some strange pre-conception of what I should like. "If not blues - and you should really tone those down, too, no peacocks! - then at least limit it to jewel-tones or darker, less intense colours, please" seemed to be the message of the Little Voice In My Head. "None of these whimsical or attention-seeking colours. They're trouble. Keep it mature and sedate."

Excuse me, but WTF?!?!?! I have no idea where that notion came from, but I've decided to put a stop to it, right quick. There are enough demands for maturity and responsibility and being sensible in daily life, without extending that to my yarn, for FSM's sake! If I can't be silly and whimsical in my creative pursuits, I'm going to get way too old before my time.

So in a conscious effort to move out of that habitual mode of thought (and really, self-censorship - what the hell is up with that?!) I now have a not-blue dreadlocked cell-phone cozy. Yes, I know it's pink. I like it. Suck it up!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Who's your mama?

I know I have a bit of a reputation at school for being a little maternal with my students, especially some of the younger and/or more nervous ones. Partly it's a response to the understandable jitters I see some of them dealing with - leave your job/family/country, go halfway around the world to a place where you don't know anybody, don't speak the language; where the culture, and even just the alphabet, are totally different. I don't know if I could do it! Or if I would want to. So I can't help feeling a little protective sometimes.

Also, without getting carried away, I try consciously to foster a bit of that attitude - to make my classroom feel comfortable, to encourage them - and, if I'm honest, so they'll like me and not complain to the administration if I'm having an off day. (Sounds a bit mercenary, I know, but it's good office politics; and since it also helps them, and helps me keep perspective on their situation, I feel no guilt about it whatsoever.)

Anyway, the point of that rambling: I have a couple of brand-new, still-jet-lagged, very young, very very nervous Japanese women in one of my classes. As they were leaving the other day, I was reassuring them about a pending test, which was making them quite nervous.

Another student overheard, and commented on my maternal penchant in his imperfect (but very enthusiastic) English:

"You are the mother of the Asian people!"

(I don't have that much grey hair yet, do I?)