Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Swimming Lessons

Notes from the neighbourhood pool:

Creepy Hot Tub Guy #1: It's an aquafit class, dude. Not a peep show. I'm pretty sure if Dan were there with you, he'd advise you to be a little more discreet and stop staring! (Unless you thought we were the synchronized swim team that was supposed to be practicing at the same time. In which case, thank you for not laughing.)

Oblivious Guy #1: know how that shower by the hot tub is a poolside shower? That means, when you pull open the waistband of your swim trunks to rinse off "down there" - we can all see you. Please stop.

Creepy Hot Tub Guy #2: Yeah, those jets are nice for massages, aren't they? I really enjoyed giving my shoulders and back a once-over. But if you are standing up and leaning forward over one of those jets? It makes me concerned that not all the froth in the water is air bubbles, know what I mean? Um, like - ew!

Oblivious Guy #2: Stretching is good, I agree. But if you are going to sit on the edge of the hot tub and stretch your legs out one at a time...could you do not do it in the direction of the heads sitting in the hot tub, right next to you? Bad lines of sight, dude. Kthxbye.

Note to self: If I'm going to rub the chlorine out of my eyes - please, put the car keys down first!

There will be a quiz on Friday. Class dismissed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Home again, it's good to be back. Though the traffic volume - as in total vehicles on the road and the noise they make, both! - is still a bit shocking. Rush hour in Cranbrook is about as busy as the middle of a weeknight here!

Mr.Q missed me - the cats, not so much. He said they were wandering about howling for me, but I think they were just telling him the rain was his fault.

In a telling demonstration of just which one of us goes away more often - both of us, on Sunday night, made reference to how good it was to have him home again...oops! I guess I need to get out more!

Yesterday was surprisingly productive with a lot of those little things that just don't get dealt with. Here's hoping that today will be comparable. I don't have high expectations, though. I fell asleep, book in hand, before 9:00 last night, and so woke up at 5:00 this morning...I 'spect a nap will move to the top of the "to do" list by lunchtime.

I love naps!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Another one bites the dust, and more "girl time"

Last night, I was gently teasing my mother about her insistence that my knitting be photographed. Just as I was thinking about going to bed, she threw her hands up and declared, "OK, so teach me to knit!"

"Ummm....OK," I said, distracted with my pre-sleep ritual.

"Well, don't you have extra needles or anything with you?" she demanded.

"Oh, you mean right now! Ummm....OK." Fortunately, the kilometres of extra yarn I'd stuffed into my pack included some dishcloth cotton and appropriate needles. We sat down at the kitchen table, and spent the next 90 minutes playing with sticks and string. She did pretty well for her first attempt:

My reward was this morning, waking up to find her tackling it again. Even better - she headed off on a road trip with some friends today, and she took it with her to work on in the car.


Set a lovely tone for a lovely day. Part Two of Quality Auntie Time With The Niblings: Girls' Day. I had all three of my nieces (almost-three, almost-five, and seven...gulp!) for part of the afternoon. Grandad had generously offered to be available if I needed help; but I was feeling adventurous. I picked up the girls, and we discussed the essentials of a girls' date: girls, and chocolate.

Fortunately, the barista at the coffee shop recognized the kids (and my slightly frantic expression, no doubt!) and made the hot chocolates easy on the sugar. And made sure she sprinkled the same amount of chocolate shavings on top of all three, so it would be fair. They "drank" their hot chocolates with spoons, and I had my coffee in a bowl. We had a lot of fun:

After the cafe, we had a little while before they had to be home, so we went back to look at the baby geese. We saw lots of goslings; about a million ducks; 7 or 8 yellow-headed blackbirds feeding on the path; a bald eagle circling overhead; and when we walked out onto the wee dock, a muskrat swam right up to us. Very cool! And of course, there was posing for the camera:

And somebody got goose poop on their shoes, we could smell it in the van...I'm not sure who, coz I had to run as soon as I dropped them off. Ooops! (Whew!)

Back to the Big City in the morning...I've had such a good week, full of great visits...All the same, I'm really looking forward to seeing (& snogging!) Mr.Q tomorrow!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Saw this poster on a telephone pole downtown by the grocery store:

I wish I could have figured out how to clearly photograph the caption on the bottom. It says: "Paid for by the Friends of Broccu-Lon 9 Invasion of Earth Planetary Planning Committee."

And that's all it says. How very very delightful!

Mom insisted that I take a photo with my knitting. I was a little exasperated - I know I like yarn, but it's not my whole identity. Also, I was cold and it was trying to rain again. I indulged her, though, because she's my mother and I always do what she tells me to. While I was struggling with my pack and sock and camera, I asked her why. Why does she keep asking me why there isn't yarn in the pictures I take? Hmm?

"I just like to see your knitting having adventures," she said.

How can I argue with that? So, here's Smooshy Charade No.2 with Head of Broccoli:

I wonder if we can get his autograph when he comes?

Never a dull moment!

I woke up yesterday morning feeling weary and dehydrated after a late night binging on cheese (and some wine!). I really wanted to sleep just a little later, but I had to go to the bathroom. The dilemma: I was at my sister's, and if the kids heard me, there would be no chance of going back to sleep. A careful listen seemed to put all the conscious children at the kitchen table, out of any line of sight. I decided to risk it, and tiptoed to the bathroom.

And, sure enough: busted on my way back to bed. Wee Shiloh came running down the hall for a hug. "Auntie really needs to sleep a little longer," I said. Her face fell and I melted. "Why don't you come tuck me in?"

"OK!" she followed me into the bedroom. I got into bed, and she proceeded to make the bed over top of me - perfectly lining up all the edges and corners. And, of course, climbing all over me. Then she sat at the edge of the bed and told me a story. I have no idea what it was about, but she was quite pleased with it. I had a brainwave: Auntie, being very thirsty, could easily work a request for a drink of water into the "tucking in" routine. Shiloh scampered off obligingly, returning in short order with a jar of water.

She kissed me "goodnight" and left me alone.

Then, she came back to see if I needed more water.

Then, she came back to fix the blankets again.

Then, she and Hannah came in, and pretended to be a squirrel and a hen, gathering acorns and laying eggs (boiled, at my request), for my breakfast. Then they snuggled for a few minutes. And asked me some difficult questions, like: "Auntie, what do you have breasts for, if you don't have kids?"

(For the record, it turns out that the correct answer is "Ask your mother," not "To make my bathing suit fit better." Unfortunately, I found that out too late. In my defense: I was more than half asleep!)

Finally, they agreed to let me sleep another half hour, and they tiptoed out.

Then, they tiptoed back, to show me their colouring books, which they left for me.

Then, they came back to tell me they'd wake me up when breakfast was ready. This time, they shut the door when they left.

Then, Shiloh remembered we hadn't said prayers before bed, so she came back. She kneeled next to the bed, folded her hands, closed her eyes, and prayed: "Dear Jesus, please help Auntie have a good sleep." (Amen!)

Obviously, Jesus had other things going on at that moment. Shiloh came back to tell me she'd made me breakfast: "A peanut butter sandwich with just peanut butter and no jam and no pickles!"

Thank goodness for small mercies! I gave in, got up, and stumbled to the kitchen. A place mat was laid out for me, with a sandwich on a plate. Sis poured me coffee, and I nibbled at the dry sandwich while Shiloh beamed proudly. And the other kids all mocked me for not having pickles in my sandwich.

Then, I took a shower with a shark:

What day is it? I've lost track...

Wednesday (?) I took my nephew for a "date." We went for a drive a bit out of town & stopped to look at an osprey nest & the high water in Wildhorse Creek (yay spring run-off!), and to smell a Ponderosa pine (vanilla - mmm!) Then we went for hot chocolate. This took a bit of negotiating, as he said he didn't want hot chocolate. I was rather surprised - what kid doesn't jump at chocolate?! "Really? What would you rather have instead - juice, a steamed milk, what?"

"Actually," he said, "I'd rather have a toy than hot chocolate. The drink will only last for a couple of minutes, but a toy will last a lot longer."

Ummm...huh? Sneaky little turkey! It was definitely one of those "don't laugh, it only encourages them" moments. "Well," I replied, "I'm going for hot chocolate. You can have one or not, it's your choice."

He opted for the hot chocolate.

And then I bought him a toy.

Girls' Night that evening. One friend has a birthday coming up, and we wanted to do something special for her...but she's on a cleanse. What do you do for someone who won't eat birthday cake? Voila!

I believe that was pomegranate juice in the wine glass. The rest of us, however, had no such restrictions:

It were a late night, what with all the deep conversations about bras and butt padding. I laughed so hard, I think I pulled something. I stayed at my sister's after; her husband has a ritual that must be performed whenever the Quimbys come to visit:

Brie, baked with jam. Yes, we ate the whole thing. Though I think I'm off dairy for a couple of days now!

Waking up the next morning with the help of the kids...was a whole other adventure, a post of its own, methinks! And last night, Mom took me to see Prince Caspian. Much of it barely resembled the book, but it was well done as a story of its own. Great brain candy!

(Is it weird to have a crush on a fictional character half my age? Coz let me tell you, dark, brooding Caspian, with that Spanish accent, was dreamy!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I thought I'd have whacks of pictures and adventures to report by mid-week...but, blissfully, I do not. Instead, I have had a lot of sleep, a lot of Mom's home-cooking (20-clove garlic chicken, free-range tenderloin steaks on the BBQ, oatmeal cookies...divine!) & I've had a lot of coffee. Yesterday, from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, I had three back-to-back visits with 3 fabulous women...time enough for one-on-one conversations to evolve and spread out and feed the soul, rather than 45 minutes crunched into a schedule. Then, I had a nice dinner out with Dad and got to do the same with him.

We came home and sat companionably on the couch, while he futzed around on his computer & I knat. At one point, I realized I had to frog 4 rows of my sweater (curses!). The light in the living room is really poor, so I pulled out my headlamp to do it. Without a word, he rummaged around in his pack...when I looked up to see what he was doing, he was wearing his! I'm not sure if he was trying to help, or trying to mock me, but it was funny. (Also, every time I take a picture, he - &/or Mom - will ask why there's no knitting in the photo. I still haven't decided whether I should pretend to be offended, for form's sake. But it's rather amusing.)

Today, I am taking my nephew for an Auntie date, and on Saturday, I'll do the same with his sisters. (All three of them at once...erk...could be interesting!) A ladies' night tonight, coffee with my mother-in-law tomorrow, and time with Mom on Friday.

The situation around being unemployed has been stressful...but the time I have right now is such a gift. I'm quite lucky, and I know it, and I'm very grateful. I feel like my mind & my body are in the same place, and more or less the same time zone, for the first time in a loooong while. And it just snuck up on me. It was kind of funny when I realized that this morning. I was thinking "wow! I actually didn't sleep all that well last night, but I feel really rested...I wonder why?" And then it hit me, as I was having coffee on the porch, listening to the birds, wondering if it would rain or not, thinking how warm my feet were...Whoa! My brain isn't trying to do the Indy 500 inside my head! How cool is that?!

I never did like fast cars.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun, sun...*

A hot, sunny weekend (what is that big bright ball in the sky? I am so not used to it...sunburned nose!) Friday, after flying in & having a nap - after having to get up at the crack of dawn to catch a plane - we headed out to Mayook, for a potluck musical celebration in honour of our friend Dooger, who passed away a couple years ago. The Doogie Boogie was a wonderful mix of good people, good potluck fare (everyone always pulls out the stops for potlucks here...I mean, there was huckleberry pie! Food of the gods!) and good tunes on an outdoor stage until the birds sang in the dawn. I borrowed a tent from friends and camped out. Check out the digs:

All to myself! Bigger than some ridiculously overpriced condos in Vancouver.

There were Mad Cows:

I wish the matching bovine earrings were more visible. Our friend Beth, bookended by my sister and I - the three of us did a few songs together...good times! (The real cows lowing at 5:00 AM - not so entertaining.)

Ha Ha Lake in the sunshine:

Apparently the water was fine, even this early in the year. I wasn't brave enough to tackle it, though. Not so much coz of the cold, but I didn't have a swimsuit, and I was far too sober to go skinnydipping in broad daylight.

Saturday, a family friend's 60th...same deal: out in the boonies, potluck, tunes, camping out. Being too tired from my own revelries the night before, I didn't stay the night. I did help Dad pitch their tent though, some nice father-daughter bonding. I was singing "I've been working on the railroad" in my head the whole time...I had to get a shot of the tent "pegs" he uses (with a 10-pound mallet!) - he insisted that there be knitting in the picture - the blob of blue is my sweater-in-progress:

My mother & sister helped cook up burgers for 60 or so people. I stayed out of their way. They were a regular Kitchen Nazi & Apprentice - though I'm still unclear which was which...Sarah kept touching Mom's onions, and Mom kept getting her mitts into the burgers Sarah was cooking, and I felt much safer being at a distance:

Sarah & I left about 9:30. I drove; she was on wildlife scouting duty. We tried to establish a code to alert me to the presence and position of deer and other critters. The whole clock method (ungulate at 3 o'clock) just confuses me, and I'm not so good with "left" and "right" the time I'd figured out which is which, we'd have Bambi riding with us. So we settled on "Ohmygodwatchoutwe'regonnadie!"

Fortunately, the only deer we saw were not on the road. I'm not sure that system would have been effective!

Last night, Sarah & her hubby took their two older ones to see Prince Caspian, and dropped the two wee ones at Mom & Dad's for the evening. We took them down to see the baby Canada Geese at the wildlife sanctuary on the edge of town:

Selah & Grandad having a moment on the dock...she was very concerned that he was sitting too close to the goose poop:

Then, she noticed I had the camera out, little diva!

Meanwhile, Shiloh & I were bonding:

Then Shiloh wanted to use the camera. This one's hers:

(After we got home, I was sending some email, and Shiloh announced she wanted to "spell on the 'puter" - so I helped her send Mr.Q an email, which went something like this: "ggjfklsllkkjflkdfkljkfjkal alkjfkdsl flksdklfk kggfj fldkjfdjkfkdjf." Mr.Q was delighted with it. Then she climbed on my lap while I was knitting, was very interested in seeing how to do it...after about 2 minutes, though, she climbed down, announced: "That's gonna take a lot of days!" and wandered off to play with something more instantly gratifying.)

*Bonus points if you can name that tune...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What a rush!

So Barb put forth a challenge the other day: make a list of things that give you a "joy rush" - spend some time focusing on gratitude - a good idea! So here I am with my own attempt...not so illustrated, since I'm at my parents' place & my computer with photos is about 840 km west of you'll just have to imagine! This is in no particular order, whatsoever, and highly incomplete...

* waking up to a cat cuddled against the small of my back, under the blankets - especially if I can go back to sleep and enjoy it for awhile longer

* that Mr.Q sets his alarm a few minutes early so we have cuddle time every morning before he leaves for work

* my almost-9-year-old nephew telling me he's not too old for snuggling with his aunt

* my wee hobbit nieces singing together on a stage, no self-consciousness at all

* that I get to be an aunt to these 4 magical, wonderful, bright, imaginative, beautiful kidlets who bring such joy into the world. I love them so fiercely it astonishes me. They make me want to be a better person, so I can set a better example for them. Plus, they give the best hugs ever! There is nothing as heart-warming as seeing them running toward me for hugs. And the way they know just how to pose for pictures cracks me up. Little divas, all. I love 'em!

* my family - is definitely quirky and sometimes cranky and often harder on each other than we are on other people - but for all that, we're pretty tight. What's more, familial loyalty aside, we actually like each other (most days, anyway!) - which is saying something...and I, for one, like the quirks.

* being outside on a moonlit night that's so bright it casts shadows

* hearing loons singing

* hearing coyotes singing

* the way Mr.Q has a (highly accurate!) glossary of facial expressions I didn't even know I use, until his acutely observant self defined them for's astonishing and marvellous that he knows me so well - and still wants to stick around!

* when we've had a fight, or I'm just having a grumpy day, he comes home with a Twix bar to share...however crabby I may be, it never, ever fails to make me smile

* Mr.Q has a particularly mischievous grin that, after almost 9 years together, still makes me catch my breath...mmmmm!

* connecting with friends that I haven't seen in months or even years...and being able to slip right back into authentic, honest, soul-baring, funny, heart-sharing conversations, with no awkwardness or hesitation, and with lots of hugs

* the fact that I am blessed with several such friends - and we all are aware enough to know that it's a blessing, making us cherish it that much more

* the first sight of the Rockies when my plane flies into Cranbrook - takes my breath away and just makes me feel Home. The warm-vanilla smell of the ponderosa pines when I get off the plane totally cements that.

* that Mr.Q, in a lunch trailer full of gruff construction workers listening in on his conversation, will talk to me every day on his lunch break, and with not the teeniest jot of self-consciousness in that company, tell me he loves me.

* storm light - those spears of sunlight through blue-gray clouds, all eerie and wild-looking...

* making music with friends...there's nothing quite like being on an outdoor stage under the stars at 1:00 AM, doing a spontaneous 7-part harmonization of Amazing Grace that just works. (We did a fine job with The Old Black Rum, too!)

I really could go on and on, but anymore about Mr.Q & you'd prolly all choke on mushballs. And I have to pour my coffee...big day ahead of me: going to sit on the chair-swing on the deck with my coffee & a book for the morning. And probably much the same for the afternoon. All of it in my PJs.

(Another joy rush - the book is one that a good friend of ours has finally had published, after years of trying...I was able to walk into the bookstore here and find it already on the shelf...squee!...and I can't put it down. The reason I'm so badly in need of coffee this morning is that I was up way late last night with it. I'm so proud and happy for him!)

(Edited to add: what's on your joy-rush list, hmmm?)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mama's taking us to the zoo tomorrow....

Well, not "us" so much as "me." And she's not really taking me, but flying me there. And maybe not the zoo, exactly, but certainly an equivalent...I's going home for a week and a half. Yay me! Way back in December, she asked me what I wanted for Christmas. "Air Miles," I said. "I want a trip home, by myself, not for a special occasion, but just because."

"But then you won't have anything under the tree!" she said.

So? As if any wrapped present (except maybe one of her stained glass pieces...!) could be half as great as 10 days with no agenda and nothing to do besides visit people I never have time to see when I'm home for an occasion! And I'm going solo, without Mr.Q. Whom I adore, and whom I will miss...but who isn't so much a social butterfly as a personification of the (social) butterfly effect. Which doesn't make for easy, laid-back, minimal-schedule kinds of vacations!

So. I'm flying about today, in a mad rush of cleaning, laundry (am I the only person who has noticed that "laundry" seems to be a code name for "self-replicating amoeba from hell"?) and packing. Trying to get out the door to do some errands, and just got a call from Purolator - idjits - I had to get a copy of my birth certificate from Ontario, and they couriered it to me. Didn't leave a pick-up notice, and now they're telling me I have to pick it up myself - Mr.Q's not allowed - in the next 5 business days. Which would be while I'm gone. Again, I say: idjits! (It's right near Mr.Q's job site, actually, so if I can get my crap together in time to meet him at work, maybe we can do it's hoping!)

(I guess I should quit procrastinating, then!)

Gratuitous knitting content: a wee sock I did up for a swap - ain't it cute? I didn't want to send it away...

It was so much fun that I'm having visions of a miniature Christmas tree, all done in a theme...

(As if I could be that organized! Or have that much patience!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Too close for comfort

I'm sure a lot of people think like I do: small-town life is pokey, dull (unless you like the pokey, which I do), and safe. Or at least, safer than life in The Big City, where you have to watch out for muggings, and swarmings on transit, and home invasions, and random gang shootings in crowded public places and busy intersections, and so on....

Until a helicopter crashes in the middle of the street, a couple blocks from a school, in a residential neighbourhood, killing all three on board and taking out a pedestrian on the way down. And, um, a half-block from my sister's house, where she, her husband, and all 4 kids were home at the time. Maybe 2 blocks from where my mother-in-law was looking after a friend's kids. Right in front of my friend's daughter's apartment. Etc. etc.

Something like that blows the "small town idyll" out of the water.

This is a community that knows from recent experience how widely the loss of 4 people will be felt. We are fortunate, Mr.Q & I, that this time we don't know any of the victims personally. That our family members in the immediate vicinity are safe. But in a small town, there's no such thing as "6 degrees of separation" - there will be one or two, three at most. We'll know someone who's grieving, for their own loss, or that of someone dear to them.

Not to put too fine a point on it - but it really fucking sucks.

I'd already booked a trip Home, leaving Friday morning. The timing was perfect - coinciding with a celebration of friends and music and food, in honour of someone dear that we lost two years ago...To be in that fine company, singing tunes and camping out, seems extra-right, now. Re-affirming connection, community, being alive, and grateful for all of it. Remembering not to take things or people, or just being here, for granted.

Now - Go hug somebody you love. Or smile at a stranger. Or something. Then, do it again. Coz you just never, ever know.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Home again, home again

I could get used to all this traipsing around with The Gentle Infidels. It's a much more pleasant, laid-back, enjoyable experience than it ever was with The Band From Hell. Nothing like a good dose of spring to start things off right:

News report today said we had the coldest April in 36 years. So seeing (and smelling!) the lilacs coming out is pure bliss. It was a perfect day for a ferry ride - saw some harbour seals on the way, and a few bald eagles - very cool. Also, chilly on deck, perfect for a little extra cuddling:

Because I like you all so much, I did not post the smiley-er pic with the nostril shot. Friday's show in Victoria was in a funky cafe with the best spicy Mayan hot chocolate ever. Ever. Also, a few old friends that I hadn't seen in eons were there (including one who opened for the GIs), and we had a good catch-up.

Saturday, I'm afraid I woke up a little crabby. A mood not improved by the pretentious atmosphere and s-l-o-w service at the hip, overpriced breakfast joint downtown. (Though I must say, best Hollandaise sauce on Eggs Benny ever. Ever.) Mr.Q knows just what to do with me at times like that, though. He took me to the local Temple of My People, and settled down in the corner to read for as long as it took for me to regain my equilibrium.

He was appropriately responsive when I brought him skeins of camel & cashmere to fondle (oh, my! I restrained myself - barely - and the credit card remained intact....though I did almost need a "personal moment" to fully express my appreciation for the lusciousness of that particular yarn...) He helped me choose colours (though his way of "helping" might not be the most constructive: "I like them all. I think you should get them all.")

I only got 2, and not of the Camel Spin, but some sock yarn. With a little cashmere in it, to scratch the itch! Then I went back to the Solstice Cafe for another cup of that fab hot chocolate, while he browsed through the used bookstores.

Off to Duncan, a cool little town between Victoria and Nanaimo, where they had a second show booked at the funkiest little venue I have ever, ever been in. Ever. The Garage Showroom is above a neat indoor marketplace-cafe-bookstore, in an old timber-framed, wood-floored building. I can't find any photos of it, to really show how enchanting it was. I got just one of Mr.Q onstage:

But as cool as the stage looks (and it was very cool) it doesn't show the motley hodge-podge of the rest of the theatre: mix-and-match theatre seats for about 70 people, a couple of couches right in front of the stage, all manner of eclectic odds and ends - a kaleidescope tube over a lazy susan with sparkly rocks and a clay hippo; head scratchers (?!), a swiss-army-knife collection of bubble-blowers, hanging lamps, old cabinets...all collected & tended by the venue's manager, a wacky, lanky old leather-headband-wearing hippy called Longevity John, who has 10 little fuzzy hyper dogs.

It was very surreal. Also, Longevity John dialed up just about the best sound I've ever heard the GIs play with, and probably anyone else, too. And at the end of the night, he gave us all nose flutes.

We stayed with friends in Nanaimo for the night, and before we headed for the ferry home, they took us to their favourite diner for a (very) late breakfast. A much better experience than the morning before! Tina's is tiny, quirky, tasty & cheap. The walls are covered in 45s and Betty Boop memorabilia. There's a lot of red. I think it was love at first sight, anyway, but then I noticed the window where the kitchen puts the orders up:

Note the red velvet curtains. Held open by gold chains. Love it!

Home again, Monday again, doing laundry quickly the routine takes over again! Off to start dinner for Mr.Q...I'm thinking of getting some pearls and heels to do my housework in. Just for authentic effect. But they'd probably look ridiculous with my bright pink flannel nightie, so maybe I'll hold off for now.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Live & Let Dye

A few months ago, I decided it was time to start thinking about knitting a sweater. The LYS had Cascade 220 on sale, on my birthday. It seemed like fate. After careful consideration, I picked a medium gray. Nice, classic, would go with everything.

And, I realized when I got home: boring as hell to knit. A winter's worth of pestering a certain Bunny got me a lesson in dyeing. We spent a fun evening changing boring gray to a variegated blue (what else!) But there was a hitch: the yarn had even more of a drinking problem that either of us, and after two separate batches of dye, there were still huge gray splotches. Which could in no way be excused as a "design feature." The Bunny had to go home, leaving me to play with the dye on my own, another day. (And lending me her dye pot & Magic Spoon - thanks!)

After careful review of the process, I got the essentials together:

If you look carefully in the top left-hand corner, you can see a bit of the gray before re-re-dyeing:

Several impatient days of letting the finished product dry finally yielded satisfactory results:

I took it outside to play in the sun this morning (after careful consideration, changing out of my bright-pink flannel nightgown to do so. The neighbours, having caught me taking pics of knitting and yarn in the shrubberies on several previous occasions, are already concerned about my sanity)

Yesterday, I swatched for my First Sweater. I wanted to do something all cabled and funky...but 1) didn't have enough yarn; and 2) thought I should start with something a little simpler the first time around. After rather an embarrassing amount of time poking around on Ravelry, I've decided to go with the Minimalist Cardigan.

I'm a little nervous, coz I got gauge with my swatch...which could be a good omen. Or it could mean that the Knitting Fates are preparing to play with me like Singe does with his mousy offerings, tormenting before going in for the kill...Anyway, I think it looks pretty, and I love how the colour knits up:

Now what I need is a name for the colourway. Suggestions, anyone?

While I was outside, I figured I'd take a photo of the first finished Charade sock:
The foot is not as short and stubby as it looks. Also, it's charading as a Charade sock, since about half-way down the cuff, and for no apparent reason, I changed the placement of the yarn-over. Ooops! By the time I realized it, I had already started the toe decreases. So, I'll just repeat the "mistake" on the second sock, and definitely call that one a "design feature" - my "interpretive version."

Off to pack for the weekend - more out-of-town gigs for Mr.Q, and I'm tagging along as the Official Groupie. (Also, um, there are yarn stores. One in an old Masonic Hall - and conspiracy theorist that Mr.Q is, he couldn't say no to that one!)

Gratuitous cute cat pics (none of Singe, who's currently in the doghouse, after a repeat of the multi-mouse incident two nights ago. Any suggestions for that - aside from making slippers &/or tacos out of the cat - would be most welcome!)
The landlord has reported that they snuggle like that outside on the lawn on sunny days. How cute is that? (Also, how cute are those hairy toes, hmmm?)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Skeletons in the family closet

I am probably going to catch a lot of flak from my family for this post. But I have been following my sister's angst-ridden attempt to come to terms with a long-shared family trauma, and it's time I get something off my chest. Put it out there, come clean, and move on. I hope I will be forgiven for this, but I am about to share a difficult - some might even say, shameful - family secret.

My family - bear with me, it's hard to put this in print for all the world to see - My family has hairy toes.

There. I said it. Hairy toes. We have hairy toes.

I know, I know. It's quite shocking, and my sisters may never speak to me again, now that I've typed this "out loud". But I really can't keep up the charade anymore. The strain has been giving me ulcers.

There has been some discussion of the trauma which makes certain people unable to deal with their hirsute digits. There has been discussion of the relative merits of plucking vs. shaving. There has been consideration of whether the inevitable comparison to hobbits is endearing or insulting.

After long, careful consideration, I have come to a decision. In an effort to accept myself and my genetics as they are; in an effort to learn to truly love myself, with all my imperfections; and as a protest against the patriarchal conspiracy that coerces women into all manner of tortuous self-mutilation in the name of "beauty" (Um, hello? Brazilian waxes, people? You want to tell me that isn't a conspiracy to disempower women?!)

In an attempt to address all of these issues, I have decided (gulp!) to leave my hairy toes alone. More, I will learn to love them, to let them run naked in the spring sunsine, to wear them proudly and publicly in sandals without socks (unless the socks are hand-knit, in which case the purpose is to show off the knitting, not hide the toes.)

My name is Gladys Quimby, and I love my toes.

(And since this is my blog, and I get to call the shots, there will be no discussion of the supposed unfashionability of socks-and-sandals. I am a knitter, I will show off my handiwork in whatever way I feel best, and if you don't like it, I will poke you with my pointy sticks. I'm just sayin'.)

Monday, May 5, 2008

June Cleaver, eat my dirt! (Or vacuum it, or something...pretty please!)

Used to be, when I was in university, that my apartment was never so clean as during final exams. What a great way to procrastinate on that term paper! I mean, really, who can concentrate on a final paper (Cultural Relativism & the Sociology of Art, anyone?) with a dirty bathroom? Housework is a great study aid! Yeah, that's it!

At this moment, I'd give a lot to have a term paper to write, in order to avoid scouring the tub. The whole "I'm gonna stay home and be a housewife all summer, won't that be fun!" novelty has worn off considerably since Friday.

Seems that cleaning the bathroom isn't on my Top Ten List of Favourite Things to do in Lieu of a Root Canal.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Free as a bird!

Well. No more unspeakable acts with the livestock for me! The shites at That Job made the decision for me...I was handed my walking papers today. Though the reason was supposedly due to "lack of work", it was really because of very badly disguised personal feelings of vindictiveness on the part of someone with the clout to get rid of me.

Guess people who stand up for themselves & call bullshit make her nervous...And I can certainly live with that! Fortunately, Mr.Q just got a nice little raise, and we've squirrelled a little bit away, so we've got some breathing room. (No need to panic, Mom!)

I'm a litte adrenaline-y, of course...also, very unsurprised. Every frustration I've had about That Job has just been confirmed. (Or re-confirmed) And the heavy-handedness with which "dissent" is being squashed is really just ensuring that the squashers are giving themselves the rope with which they'll strangle themselves. Good plan, that: go into the busiest season in the industry with an uhappy staff who don't trust the security of their jobs, or you personally. Have fun with that!

As for me, I feel wonderfully relieved. Now I don't have to make the decision about when to leave (and it was inevitable!). I am free, free like a bird! (A bird, yes. A soaring bird who will poop on the unsuspecting crocodile-heads below...whee!)

Gotta run. Busy, unemployed me is off to Jel's for some celebratory Kahlua & coffee. That Indian dinner Mr.Q & I were planning on tonight has just been upgraded from "payday treat" to "Independence Day party"...

Guess the goats will just have to learn to blow themselves!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Luck o' the Irish

Since it's Beltane and all, and since I can claim some Irish heritage, I thought it would be good to have a traditional Celtic dinner, in celebration. Something easy, as I have about as much energy as a drunk Leprechaun who has hit his head on the Blarney Stone. So we went with this old Irish stand-by:

Veggie burgers, with cheese. Doesn't get much more trad than that!


He did it TWO. MORE. TIMES.

Our response time improved dramatically with each incident - second time (4:20 AM), Mr.Q chased him out before he let the mouse go; third time (5:30 AM), we cornered him in the kitchen before he got near the bedroom. I'm pretty sure they were different mice each time.

Then he had the cajones to try & cuddle with me when the alarm went off. As if.

He is not my favourite feline right now!