Sunday, March 30, 2008


3:58 a.m.

That's what time we got in last night. This morning. Whatever.

And I woke up at 8:00. Not because I had to, or wanted to, or even because the cats demanded it. Nope. No reason, just because. Ask me how impressed I was.

(Jel asked if I was about as happy as a wet cat, just pulled out of the washing machine. Understatement of the year, I think.)

Mr.Q doesn't do birthdays like most people. He books a club, invites a bunch of his musician friends out to play, puts up posters, and throws himself one hell of a party. I still haven't decided if I think it's weird or not, but it makes him happy. And people keep coming out - this is the third year in a row he's done this in Vancouver. (Let's not discuss the fiasco that was his 30th, some years ago, a mere 4 weeks after we'd first moved in together....sufficient cause for me to wonder what the bloody heck I'd gotten myself into....These days, he is far more restrained. Thank FSM.)

Last night was great - eight bands (eight! The sound guy was a little crotchety by the end, and I can't say I blame him!) All of them completely different, and all of them ranged from pretty good to frackin' fantastic. Lots of people out we hadn't seen in awhile, good conversation, many hugs (I like hugs!) It was a lot of fun, and Mr.Q enjoyed himself immensely. Which was, after all, the whole point of the exercise.

Of course, more than a few people bought him a birthday round, but he somehow remained heroically functional for most of the night. By the end, though, he kind of reminded me of a cross between Tigger, and Baloo from the Jungle Book. While I was sensible and moderate in my habits.

Which is why the irony of today is so, so bitter. He should be crippled with the after-effects, yet he's out and about, while I'm trying my darnedest to stay awake until at least 8:30.

The day was hardly a waste - we went out for brunch (lunch!). It was beautifully warm out. My sister came into town with her husband - stopping at IKEA for us en route, yay! - and we had a nice visit over coffee. Then Mr.Q and I went up Main Street so he could spend the birthday money that my mother & sister had given him for records. While he did that, I poked around in the yarn store, and picked up some bagels at Solly's.

(One of the guys at the record store was out last night, and gave Mr.Q a 2-for-1 deal on his records. Thanks. Thanks a lot.)

I'm just waiting for my chamomile tea to finish steeping...then I can start sleeping!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to Q!

Happy Birthday, to you.
Oh, dear Mr.Q!

You look like a monkey,
& you kiss like one, too!

(A luuurve monkey, that is!)

Happy Day, my cat-loving, chin-on-head-tucking, expert-cuddling, bass-playing, mushroom-mocking, bathroom-cleaning, back-rubbing, wonderful Zimbu the Love Chimp!

Here's a pic of Mr.Q's new b-day socks, the yarn 'specially dyed by a certain Bunnie, in colours evocative of his grey tabby cat's belly; and then the belly in question:

And here's one of the Birthday Boy, in his natural habitat:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Insert Clever Title Here; I'm too tired to think of one

So. Easter Weekend. We got all extravagant and booked a cottage B&B for Friday and Saturday night. It was fabulous. Though the weather on the ferry over was deceptive:

Isn't that lovely? (Look at all the snow!) It was like that right until we got to the B&B. Then it was overcast and ucky the rest of the weekend. Which was OK, coz we ended up doing a lot more napping than anything else (and I do mean "anything else.") So we didn't miss much.

The cottage was part of a farm, and when we arrived, they sent us out with some carrots to meet some of the locals, while they put a breakfast basket together.

Then they sent us up the hill, where this sweet little cottage sat above everything.

Our closest neighbours were the emus. There were 3; two saucy females, and a lone male sitting on a nest.

They were very cool. They don't vocalize like other birds; they make a weird kind of drumming noise in their chests. We had long discussions as to whether the sound more closely resembled a djembe or a tabla drum.

(On a tangent: apparently some crazy scientist with too much time on his hands has managed to genetically modify emu eggs, and cross them with llamas! Gives "llama, llama, duck" a whole new meaning!)

There were several of these mascots roaming around, keeping everyone in line:

The best part was when the two dominant (or wanna-be dominant!) birds would start duelling at 4:30 a.m. And get the ducks and geese going. The emus would join in, too, with a drumbeat to complement the horn section. (We also drank a lot of coffee!)

A walk around the farm brought us past the chickens. Laying hens only - all the meat from the farm's butcher shop/smokehouse comes from elsewhere, so we didn't have to worry about whether we'd met our breakfast's cousins or anything. I think somebody forgot to tell the chickens that, though. They followed our every move (would have literally, I think, if not for the fence!), as a mob.

Or really, more like Borg chickens - all at once, moving together, cooing and bobbing their heads from side to side. It was actually quite creepy. I was afraid they would all zombify at night and peck us to death in our sleep.

When we weren't worried about fending off mutant zombie chickens, we each plowed through a pile of reading. (I actually only picked up my knitting once...while we were waiting for somebody on the farm with a pick-up truck and a tow rope...The van got stuck in the mud, and we had to get it pulled out. Didn't even phase the guy - I guess we're not the first to get stuck! - but I was mortified. "No, really, we aren't total city slickers!" They were very kind about it, though.)

We ate huge breakfasts, with fresh eggs and chicken-apple-ginger sausages, fresh-smoked bacon, and home-made preserves:

Mr.Q drank his cheap beer and read pulp fiction - Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom series. He was so into it, I started calling him "John Carter, Dishlord of Mars."

He wasn't amused. But I was, quite!

I had Bailey's in my coffee, and wine in the kitchen.

Saturday, we went out for dinner to Tuscany, where we had positively divine pizzas. I also had a milk chocolate creme brulee for dessert...dreamy!

Back at the cottage (with enough daylight left to back the van in and avoid the mud traps!), we were greeted by Charlie, canine ambassador extraordinaire. His favourite game, apparently, is playing tug-o-war with a stick twice his body length. Mr.Q was happy to indulge him.

I think both of them would have kept it up all night, if it hadn't been so cold. Mind you, we'd have done a lot of things if the weather was nicer: hike, lounge on the deck with ciders and books, eat dinner outside...I guess we'll just have to go back!

Poking around the island, we also saw llamas, pygmy goats, an amazing chocolate shop, a cool New-Age shop with a yurt for bellydancing classes, a kiwi trellis, and all kinds of other fun stuff. We've got another B&B booked in the summer, closer to the water...I'm quite looking forward to it! Meanwhile, we brought some of those chicken-apple-ginger sausages home with us.

But no zombie chickens. (Or emus, though I had to work pretty hard to convince Mr.Q that that would be a bad idea!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Enough with winter, already!

I want spring! It should be spring...not only is it past the equinox - the cherries are in blossom, the daffodils are starting to come out, and the magnolias are just on the cusp of blooming. I know, I know. I live in Canada, we get Winter with a capital W here.

That's why I live in Vancouver, darn it all! So's I don't have to deal with Winter with a capital W.

So, why can't I get warm? (I could go put my hands on Mr.Q's back. That's always warm...heheheheheheh!)

In anticipation of warmer weather, we went out tonight and got ourselves real live bicycles. Second-hand, and mine's right from the '70s. I need an "Electric Company" t-shirt to wear while I'm riding it.

But first it needs to warm the frak up!

I still have to post pics from our weekend away. There were emus and zombie chickens. I'll leave you with that teaser, until tomorrow.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bloody Hell. Literally.

I was going to post all about our lovely weekend away, complete with pictures to make you all jealous.

But I started catching up on my blog reading, first, and came across a reference to this in Rabbitch's latest post.

Suddenly the tasty sausages and the emus are ridiculously trivial.

Go, read, get angry, do something. And let me know if you have any brilliant ideas, coz I'm too upset to think beyond letters to my Member of Parliament, and my Prime Minister. Which I've written.

Do I have much faith that it will work? I dunno. But it's what I can do at the moment, so I've done it. And I've seen what can be done when a lot of people do their little bit. So please - however ineffectual it may seem, do your little bit. Write a letter, pass the link on, light a candle. Just do something other than keeping silent.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Run away! Run away! (Also: my 200th post!)

I was up a little too late last night to be awake this early. And I'm not even making coffee, coz I don't want to open a new bottle of cream, only to have it sit unused all weekend & then have to throw it away on Sunday. So I'm sucking it up for a little while longer, till I can justify hauling Mr.Q's arse out of bed and we can head for the ferry.

We've got books, knitting, guitars, and wooly socks packed up. Something other than pajamas for dinner at the fancy-shmancy Italian pizza place tomorrow. Cheese, chocolate, and fruit (in that order!). Rather a lot of sauce to go with the goodies.

(Difficult decision in the liquor store the other day: "Do I want wine, or Baileys...or wine-and-Baileys?" We went with the wine-and-baileys-and-strongbow combo for me, cheap crappy beer for Mr.Q. His choice. Don't ask me.)

I've got my comfiest pink flannel nightie packed - perfect for spending two days in - and a strong likelihood of crappy weather ahead of us. Which means no hiking (boo!) but more time for lounging, reading, knitting, napping, Advanced Cuddling (*ahem*), and generally doing Sweet F**k All (yay!).

We're both quite excited by the prospect of getting OUT of the city for a couple of days. Bowen Island is only 20 minutes by ferry, and you can see a good part of the mainland from the eastern edge of the island...So I was very careful to choose a cottage that was elsewhere, with no view of the city.

The last 3 months have been more than a little frenetic - the lead-up to releasing the new CD, the subsequent fall-out of the band's toxic implosion (with business arrangements yet to be dealt with from that, blech), and Mr.Q's new project: editorship of a new local music 'zine/paper/thingy. Very busy, often stressful, sometimes painful, more often rather exciting, and certainly never dull!

So a couple of days away are much-needed, and I'm awfully glad we've decided to do this, instead of being so "sensible" all time. Feh! Why not have a little fun once in awhile? I mean, it's not like the phone bill's going anywhere, whether we go away or not. So - what the heck! Onward Ho!

Have a good weekend! Miss me!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chewing chips and stealing wax, and malfunctioning underthings

Today was an interesting day. Tomorrow being a stat holiday, all three of my classes had tests today. It makes for a long day for everybody, but I tried to make it up to them by getting them hopped up on Easter chocolate.

(No pun intended, but now that I see it in writing, it amuses me, and so I'll leave it.)

One of the bags of chocolate I had brought was full of mini Reese's cups, all cutely wrapped in pastel-coloured tin foil. During the short break between afternoon classes, I thought a taste of chocolate would be just the thing to perk me up, as I dashed around, scattering papers and looking busy. I unwrapped it, and absent-mindedly put it in my mouth without really looking at it, thinking:

"Huh. I didn't realize they were dark chocolate Reese's. I wonder what they'll taste like."

Like paper, that's what. Like the little black paper cup that all Reese's come in. Duh.

Got through the rest of the afternoon OK, remembered some unfinished photocopying at the last minute (which would have been interesting, come class time on Tuesday!), and headed off to the bus only a quarter of an hour or so past my usual time. Not a bad start to a long weekend!

As I turned the corner onto the street where I catch the bus, there was one at the stop, about a half-block away. Shite! But somebody was standing at the door, talking to the bus driver - definitely worth running for it. So I did.

(To the lady texting while walking - I'm sorry I almost knocked you over when you weren't watching where you were going. My apologies.)


I got to the bus just as the driver was about to close the doors. Score! He gave me kind of a funny look as I got on, but some bus drivers are just odd like that.

I realized, as I sat down, that in my mad dash for the bus, one of my girls had jumped clear out of her moorings. Thankfully I was wearing a dark, solid T-shirt. Not nearly as dramatic a wardrobe malfunction as poor Janet had. Even so, it must have looked more than a little odd (and lop-sided!).

I'm just glad no innocent bystanders were injured.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Head wounds, and other traumas of modern life

I have been meaning to sit down & post since before the weekend. Obviously, it didn't happen. Oh well!

Friday afternoon, I had a hair appointment after work. And enough time before-hand to treat myself to a yummy lunch. I decided to go to Lombardo's, for a Margherita pizza and a beer. I rarely drink beer, and almost never when I'm out alone (a matter of preference, more than anything) - so I felt awfully grown up and cool when I ordered it. My pizza came, I took a lovely photo of it with my phone...and the website that handles the pics has eaten it. So you don't get to see it. Sorry.

(Though it's probably just as well, coz I'd also taken a picture of my glass, after I poured the beer into it...very foamy. And if I had that picture, I was going to title this post "There is such a thing as too much head" - and my mother reads this, and that would be bad. So it's a good thing my photos were eaten, sparing my mother and other assorted family members. Hi Mom!)

Anyway, lunch was delish. My hairdresser is a bit kooky, but I like her. She found me a photo that was exactly what I wanted, and she set to work. Usually, this method works delightfully.

(I'll point out the ironic foreshadowing there, in case you missed it.)

As she was cutting, she kept saying, "I wonder what your hair would look like, really short. I bet it would look really great." And I kept saying, "Ask me that question in July, when it's really hot, and I bet you can talk me into finding out." And she kept saying, "Yeah, good idea!" As she kept cutting, and cutting....

And now I know. I look just like I did when I was 15, except without the shoulder pads (thank FSM, since they really made me look like a football player!) Mr.Q finds it entertaining. I'm still deciding whether I'm traumatized.

Saturday, my sister came over to colour my hair. You know, a little something fun for spring. She insisted on taking photos for the blog - it was her idea, actually, and I think it really indicates how much she wants to start a blog of her own, but she just has to be different from our youngest sister and I. Some people!

Anyway, when she was done putting the goop in my hair, she took a picture:

It looked like I'd been scalped.

Fortunately, it turned out much better after everything was finished. Except that, when she was rinsing out my hair in the kitchen sink, she didn't hear me when I told her the tap was backward, and she froze my head. Accidentally, it's true, but she enjoyed it far too much.

Saturday nite, I went out to hear one of my former students speak at an event, Global Village Storytellers - a night of storytelling by people from different countries, with the goal of community-building and telling stories of peace.

I was a little nervous about going, coz it was obvious it was one of those things where everybody there was part of the same group, and would know each other. And I'd be sitting alone in the corner with my knitting, feeling awkward. But. The event sounded interesting on its own, and this particular student has been one of my favourites. A retired history teacher from Japan, who has spent most of her adult life finding ways to teach children (and adults) about peace. A funny, sassy woman who must have been an amazing teacher. I wanted to be there for moral support - and just to hear her stories.

I got there a little early. So, I sat in the corner and pulled out my knitting...and had several very friendly people ask about it within just a few minutes. Which made me much more comfortable.

When Misa arrived, she was glad to see me (she had some pronunciation questions before her performance!) And I wasn't alone, in the end. A couple other former students showed up, and we had dinner together in our corner. Misa's stories were great. There was also a man from Germany, one from Nicaragua (a former Sandinista who survived torture by the death squads - mind-blowing!) and a fabulous, overwhelming Nigerian woman who had us all eating out of the palm of her hand.

The funny thing was, the topic of my morning class had been "storytelling" - so it was quite the appropriate finish to the week.

And now it's already Tuesday again. Which is crazy, but it means the long weekend - and our weekend away! - will be here lickety-split. I guess I should start thinking about which knitting project(s) to bring along. And just how much wine I'll need. (And whether that will differ significantly from how much wine I'll want.)

'Nuff of my rambling. If you think of it, please send Barb happy Edward-cat thoughts - one of her orange tabbies has gone AWOL after their Big Move. Knowing what that's like, I keep jumping over to her blog every couple of hours, hoping for an update. Nothing yet, but all the fingers and paws Chez Quimby are crossed!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just another maniac Monday

(How has a whole week gone by since my last post? I am missing a few days somewhere, and it has nothing to do with fermented fruit beverages. Nor grain beverages. Nor illicit pharmaceuticals, or even yarn fumes. I'm so confused....)

My Mom was in town for work last week, and spent Friday night with us. Saturday morning, she took Mr.Q and I out for breakfast. We thought we'd try a new-to-me diner in our neighbourhood. We used to go to a new, funky little restaurant in the 'hood, but it got too trendy and our last few experiences there haven't been the greatest. So we were on the lookout for something different. We found just the place: cozy, tasty, cheap, and super-friendly. (I have to say, I found it pretty amusing when the waitress, definitely not much older than I am, kept calling my mother "Sweetheart")

(Note the artful concealment of the diner's name....we've decided to keep it TOP SECRET, so we can avoid the invasion of trendiness that spoiled our previous breakfast joint.)

While waiting for our meal, Mr.Q does his Jean Chretien impersonation:

Personally, I think he looks more like Sam the Eagle. Though he may just have been pouting coz I got him with a wet willy. (Coz really, I am eight years old.) Mom, of course, was totally impressed with both of us:

(I couldn't remember whether I had promised not to post a picture of her, but when I called to ask, Dad assured me that I had promised to post...Just doing what I'm told!)

Mom asked me to make her a pair of fingerless gloves, so after breakfast we headed up to the yarn store to find her something tasty. Problem is, the neighbourhood in which the store is located is always stupid-busy on Saturdays, and parking is darned near impossible. As we got close, Mr.Q asked me to sing our little mantra, praying to the Parking Gods.

Let me tell you, I am now convinced of the power of prayer. This is the view out the passenger window from our parking spot:

And if that wasn't enough, this was the view of the parking metre waiting for us:


(And if anybody's got a minute, send Barb some happy-safe-moving thoughts... 'twasn't so long ago Mr.Q and I made a similar-though-not-nearly-so-far kind of move, and it was more than a bit of a mind-f**k. And we did it without kids. So - Good luck, Cooper Clan!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Taking work home with me...

It's a lovely spring afternoon. Sunny, still a bit brisk, crocuses out in force, the cherries about to burst into bloom. An antidote to the ever-worsening downtown traffic/transit "challenge" (thanks to the pre-2010-Olympic construction insanity - rickin'-frackin' grrrr!).

It was kind of a long day at work, too, and I was pretty tired when I finally got on a frackin' bus. Not even my usual one, so Mr.Q was on stand-by to pick me up when I got sort of close to home. But with the sun warming me through the windows, I thought:

"Maybe I'll walk home from the bus instead. It'll be a bit of a hike, but it's so nice out! I'd hate to waste the sunshine. Maybe I'll call home and see if he wants to walk up and meet me part way. Won't that be nice? A bit of a walk together in the spring sunshine? Mushy mushy sigh...!"

So I called him when I got off the bus. Which is when I realized just how tired I was from work: "Hey you! Are you busy? I have a preposition for you."


(He did come meet me, and it was a lovely walk home.)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I've been touching all of your yarn!

So I have this pusher friend who aspires to be a fibre maven. (Apparently raising a child, dealing with a husband, working 17 jobs, indulging in occasional fits of do-gooderness, blogging, and attempting to sleep every third day or so, isn't enough for some people. Me, I get tired just thinking about her schedule!)

Anyway, this particular psychobunny is getting ready for her first big fibre festival, and she bribed me with yarn asked me to help her with some yarn that needed skeining so she could dye it. Now I, being cheap and easy that way being a very nice person, said yes.

So I got handed 30 balls of yarn and a niddy noddy, and I went to work. The uninitiated (like me, up until about lunchtime yesterday!) might think: "Meh! 30 balls of yarn! How long can that take?"

Enough time to start singing to myself. To sing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." Twice. Enough time to realize that the best songs to maintain a working rhythm were either Monty Python's traffic light song, which I couldn't get through even once before I wanted to pull my hair out; or "The ants go marching one by one" - which, by the second ant, had become a song about going to the bathroom. (I'll just leave that one to your imagination, shall I?)

Turns out that 30 balls of yarn, at 210 metres each, means that I skeined 6.3 kilometres (about 4 miles) worth of yarn over the weekend. My shoulders are a little sore. I feel a ridiculous sense of accomplishment. I have a whole new appreciation for the effort that goes into the yarn that I buy so easily. (Does that mean I should buy even more, the better to support my friendly neighbourhood cottage industry?)

It does mean, though, that all of you should run out and buy Rabbitworks yarn at the fibre fest this weekend. And it means that when you take it home, there's a good chance that I will have already fondled it. (Heh heh. That makes me feel a little strange, in a pleasant kind of way!)

Mr.Q has been calling me "Skein-a, Queen of the Jungle" all weekend. He's also, at this very moment, making a batch of chocolate-chip cookies all by his very own self. I think it's his first time. He's not asking a lot of questions, and I'm not allowed in the kitchen. It's making me a little nervous. But I'm resisting the urge to go check on him, so he can brag about it in the lunch room tomorrow.

I think I'll keep him.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Family Day

Yesterday was a non-instructional day at work - which meant a Day Off for me. Whee! Hooray for long weekends! Coincidentally, my father flew in early in the afternoon, for meetings today. So I trekked through downtown to meet him at his hotel on Granville Island for a few hours of bonding.

I was very impressed with the hotel. It has its own brewery!

How cool is that! We didn't get to sample their wares, however. We had A Mission To Accomplish. Dad needed scrapbook post extenders. So we wandered through the rain, had coffee looking out over the waterfront, poked around a few shops, and finally ended up at a paper shop which had what he needed. Also, it had some shelves of coloured raffia that made me do a double-take:

(Please. Tell me somebody out there also sees how that could look like yarn at first glance.) That's Dad's hand, with his fancy new post extenders. (He was very indulgent of the blog-photo-taking.)

After our mission was accomplished, we moseyed back to his hotel, hung out and just visited for the rest of the afternoon. It was very nice - we haven't had an extended sit-down for a long time. Usually he's here for work - too busy - or I'm home visiting - and everybody's busy and the TV's on and there are kids underfoot, etc. So a couple of hours to just sit, chill, talk, watch the light on the bridge (and the huge crane just outside the window - an essential part of Vancouver's skyline from any angle!) was quite a treat.

Eventually Mr. Q, and my sister & her husband, made it through traffic (not just Friday rush hour, but Friday Rush Hour and a Hockey Game traffic - ugh!) and we all went for dinner. Sis & her hubby got back from Hawaii a couple weeks ago, so we got to see their pictures, and she brought us chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, too. Yum!

(Mom - I do hope you get some. I told her to wait & give them to you, but Dad was really insistent. Really, really insistent. He kept saying that they should have brought some back for you....)

I got a new toy in the mail yesterday, too. Here it is, posing with the family:

It's a funky PVC sock needle holder. I loves it. Sis looks totally impressed with it, doesn't she? The beer on the table is from the Whistler Brewing Company. Very tasty. One thing I do love about this city is the plethora of micro-breweries!

A very nice way to spend Leap Day!

After dinner, Mr.Q and I went to visit some friends we've been trying to connect with for awhile. As we walked into their apartment, we were assailed by the oddest, and rather rank, hot plant kind of smell. I thought "Oh gawd. They've cooked up some weird vegan appies that I'm going to have to eat. It smells awful. Well, they're good friends, so I'll suck it up and hope I can eat at least one. Then say I'm just too full from dinner. Erp!"

I had forgotten that he does a lot of home-brewing, and he had told us that he was starting a new batch of beer last night. Whew!

(PS - I have to confess, when I got up this morning, I briefly considered where I could hide our box of chocolate macadamia nuts, so Mr.Q would forget about them. Then I could have them all to myself. Mine! My preciousssss! They're very tasty.)