Sunday, June 29, 2008

I hope a unicorn humps your butt

At least, that's what the button my sister got for me says. Ain't she sweet?

Tuscany update - third time's the charm. So far. Not wanting to tempt fate, there.

I'm hot. Not complaining, after June-uary. Besides, it's hard to when you're a melted puddle on the floor anyway. It was at least 35 degrees celsius today (that's around 100 F, I think.)

Prolly not helping that my brother-in-law has the oven on right now, but we're a family with strong feelings about our bonding rituals and traditions. Just about to break out the baked-brie-and-jam. Got some garlic roasting, and a baguette to sop it up. Just the thing to top us up after the Beer Butt Chicken we had for dinner. (They call it "Violated Chicken." I took pictures. They're rather disturbing.)

Meanwhile, Mr.Q is snoring on the couch...could be he had a beer too many...could be the heat...but from the carpet burn on his knees, I'd say it's from a solid afternoon of playing "Tickle Camel" with 4 kidlets hanging off him at all times. And I'm not sure he didn't have more fun than they did. Come the kids' bedtime, he was the one who needed a time out. We had to ask the kids not to get him wound up anymore. Which they found highly entertaining.

It's good to be back in the Kootenays!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why I should not be trusted with small children or houseplants

I am an idiot. Rather a spectacular one, too, for someone with my education and supposed intelligence.

I decided it was time to tackle another lace project - specifically, a shawl. My two previous attempts had most definitely bombed, but I did learn a lot in the process. I came across the Tuscany shawl in No Sheep For You, and fell in love. I read the instructions carefully, and raided my stash. I thought about using the Sea Silk I've been saving for something special, but the colour of the skeins were just too different for me. I do, however, have 3 skeins of lightweight Socks That Rock in Midsummers Night that had been earmarked for something else, long since abandoned.

I poked around on Ravelry for hours, reading people's notes on the pattern, on different yarns, on needle sizes, on how to best work with skeins of variegated colours...I even swatched. I established that I needed probably a 4 mm needle for this yarn, and though it would make the shawl bigger - that would suit me just fine. In fact, I'd like it a bit longer, and that's what the swatch was suggesting would happen. (And yes, I know that they lie, which is why I didn't take it as gospel truth.)

I trekked up to the yarn store through Saturday afternoon traffic, made much worse by street closures due to the Jazz Fest, the Dragon Boat Festival, and more new construction that also altered the bus route. The yarn store only had 4.25 mm needles, but I figured - what the hell! It's lace, it's not like it's going to turn into a rhino-sized disaster of a sweater. It's a shawl. It will fit.

I took my needles home, soaked the cable in hot water to loosen it up, went through the pattern again and made copious notes. I tried three different cast-ons to determine which one I liked best. I started and frogged the first lace repeat about 4 times before I finally got it. I figured that this was definitely a "slow-and-steady" kind of scenario...I am in love with this shawl like no other knitting I've done for a long, long time. I want it to work. I want to walk through crisp autumn sunlight, wrapped romantically in it. I want one of my nieces to borrow it for her wedding. I adore it, hopelessly and helplessly, with all the frenetic passion of a first crush. (OK, I might be exaggerating just the teensiest bit, but you get the idea!)

I put it away when I'd successfully finished the first repeat...carefully counting the number of stitches three times to make sure I was on track. When I picked it up again yesterday, I was a little concerned with the drape, but I figured that would work itself out - I was only 2 inches into the thing, after all. I had got all my housework and errands done first, clearing up some quality one-on-one time with the shawl.

I got through most of the next pattern repeat...was 4 rows from finishing, in fact, when I realized that my stitch count was off. I looked at it really closely, couldn't quite figure it out. I had an idea where it was, just not why. I started tinking back...and back...and back...until I had undone everything I had accomplished yesterday. I had dropped the very first yarn over, two damned stitches into the first row of the pattern repeat.

I didn't scream. I took a deep breath, chalked it up to a learning experience, and put it away for the day. I did hope that the denseness of the stitches would work out a little in the blocking, it was making me a little nervous. I have been looking forward to getting back to it tonight...but trying to finish the to-do list first. Which included tidying up my Magic Room, and sorting out what I needed to take for knitting this weekend (road trip with the Infidels, another post!) I picked up the second package of circular needles on my desk, trying to decide if I needed to bring them or not. Decided not - what for?

Took a closer look at them as I was about to put them away...and realized that these were the 4.25 mm needles I was supposed to be knitting on. I'd started the shawl on needles two sizes too small.

Glad I never did recover that lost ground. It'll hurt just a little less when it goes to the frog pond tonight.

'Scuse me while I go smack myself in the head. Again.

Oh, my!

Pinched from Rachel:

Your Slogan Should Be

What Happens in Gladys, Stays in Gladys

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sunday sundries and such

I know it seems a little late to be blogging about Sunday, a whole three days ago. I just haven't had the time or the inclination to sit at the computer for long. I actually made it out to a knitting meet-up this week - too much fun, I need to do that more often. It's good to be among my people. And some of us have more in common that just the fibre addiction....there's a whole sub-set of knitters who are serious sci-fi geeks, too. Having just (re-)watched the single season of Firefly (curses, o evil Fox network! Why did you cancel it? May a thousand camels pee in your cornflakes!), I was especially amused that one of the gals was knitting herself a lovely pair of Kaylee socks. Now, I just happen some yarn in the stash that would work marvellously with time I need something to knit. Coz, you know, I don't already have enough on the needles. (Actually, at this point, if I started another pair of socks, I'd have to go buy more needles, since the oodles I already have are all occupied.) Anyway, the meet-up was fun, and they've recently started serving micro-brew at that particular cafe. I'll have to make a point of getting out more!

Also, there has been an astonishing amount of cleaning going on (ummm...I mopped the floor. OMG. If I mention doing the walls, somebody please send the nice men in the white coats?) And pondering the unsolvable mysteries of life (like why Mr.Q has to leave one single spoonful of chili in the pot? When I asked him about it, he just looked at me all solemn-like and said "A man has to have some secrets." And then he did it the next day with the tuna casserole. I might start saving up all these little spoonfuls, put them in the freezer, and when there's a container's worth, send that in his lunch. Yeesh.)

Then, the Bagheera beastie was having some tummy issues a couple days ago (read: copious vomiting-up of semi-digested cat food...and then trying to eat it again...eeeeew!). So I've been stalking him to make sure he's eating, drinking, using the litterbox. I think he's getting a little annoyed with me. He's perfected a highly expressive stare: "Jeez, lady, I don't come and stare at you when you're in the bathroom! A little privacy, please!"

So. To make a short story way longer than it needed to be, that's why I haven't got around to posting about Sunday's adventure in the 'burbs. We went out to New Westminster for their "Sapperton Days" event. A typical small-town street festival, nothing terrifically exciting. But cozy, community-oriented, and a chance to do something different on a summer afternoon. They had all the usual ingredients - a giant seagull mascot, bike races for the kids, performances by local bands, demonstrations by martial arts and dance clubs. And the real essentials:

A pirate ship:

A charity hot-dog stand, which Mr.Q particularly enjoyed, having played a solstice BBQ gig the night before (hangover food! mmmm!):

Fresh, hot mini-donuts....and yarn!

(The donuts I shared. The yarn - Orchid Garden from a local Ravelry pal - is all for me...meeeee! My preciousssss!)

All that left me plum tuckered out, so I had to put my Ravelry pint glasses to their intended use when we got home:

The brew, Fuller's Honey Dew, is a very exciting new discovery. A perfect summer beer!

(I really don't drink as much as it might seem that I do. Ummm...let's not mention the Bailey's in my coffee at the moment....Yeah, anyway. I never used to like beer, but once I discovered micro-brews,'s like chocolate (or yarn) - I'd rather have a little of the good stuff than any amount of the cheap, crappy stuff. Of course, it's sometimes fun to have a lot of the good stuff! Heheheheheheheh...)

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's all fun & games, till somebody loses an eye...

Before I share my afternoon with you, it's important to make it clear that I hate shopping for clothes, shoes, anything that might possibly land me in a mall. In fact, I'm not generally a big fan of shopping as a recreational activity in any way shape or form (yarn stores, indie bookstores, and funky thrift stores being the exceptions). Usually, it's more of a necessary evil, to be eased by the judicious consumption of gin. Or tequila.

Finding (much-needed) new footwear and a new summer top the other day was thus quite an accomplishment for me. But the new summer top highlighted another need I've been trying not to think about for some time: a new bra.

I hate the damned things anyway, first thing I do when I get home is take it off, already. I've managed to get by for quite some time on a couple of light-support "sports" bras (though they'd really only be good for yoga, nothing with any kind of impact!). But as much as I wanted to deny it, it was past time. Ugh.

I decided that today was the day to get it over with. I fortified myself with coffee, put on my snazzy new sandals for a self-esteem boost, tried to remember everything I ever read in O about proper bra sizing, and I headed down to Sears.

Where I spent two hours trying on a million different damned rickin-frackin' bras. Trying to find something without scratchy lace or pokey underwires or of the "push-up" variety that would shove my bosom up around my throat and choke me. Something simple, practical, that didn't feel or look like a straitjacket. After all that, I found one single, solitary style that I could imagine wearing for more than 90 seconds. One. Needless to say, it came home with me.

And I have to say, after years of those not-so-great sports bras, and the cumulative effects of gravity....put my gals in a well-fitting bra, and my word! They're so perky! It's kind of funny. I keep looking down and - whoa! Where did those come from?! I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.

(Mr.Q, in his infinite wisdom and sensitivity, commented: "You'd better be careful, you might put somebody's eye out with those things." Stinker.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Keep it simple, silly!

I've become quite the little housewife lately...dishes are done regularly, Mr.Q's lunch is packed for him, the veggies in the fridge stand a better chance of being used up before they get...interesting. I'm getting a bit more creative in the kitchen - last night we had a kick-ass tamale pie (Moosewood recipe); tonight will probably be asparagus soup, since it's cold and yucky out again. (And the asparagus needs to be used pronto)

The apartment is slowly (but perceptibly!) getting tidier, as I sort through piles and, I even dusted! Also, as I go, I find I'm getting rid of a lot of stuff. It's quite liberating. We've taken a several loads to the thrift store over the last couple of months, and I've got another one started. Today, for example, as I was putting dishes away, I had to just stop and look at what I was doing. Then I went to get a box, and I loaded it up with dishes. There are two of us here. Two. How many different matching sets of 4 dinner plates do we need? The answer is not three sets, plus a few odd ones out.

The tidier it gets, the easier it is to keep it that way...and the more I want to. Mind you, it will never be a Martha Stewart model in here...there's only so much one can do in a small, 2-bedroom apartment with hundreds of CDs, records, and books. Not to mention the growing yarn stash, and the dozen or so musical instruments! When it's chaos, it bothers me. But as long as there's some kind of method to the madness, I can't say I mind a bit of clutter when it's made up of music, literature, yarn...creative stuff.

The trick, of course, is implementing the method. Made more challenging by Mr.Q's OCD hoarding genes...he's definitely his parents' child there! (So much so that he once wrote me a song called "My Husband's a Pack Rat." The chorus simply repeats "books and records and records and books" over and over.)

Getting rid of superfluous stuff, like the dishes today, helps. A lot. Simplifying. It's a question of what's truly important. Guitars? Absolutely! Enough dinner settings for a hockey team? Not so much. Simplification - more challenging than multiplication, and so much more satisfying to learn!

One of the other projects I'm working on is applying that to transportation...and getting rid of the van. We don't really need it in the city; we hardly drive it. Not to mention the cost of feeding the greedy beast! Besides public transit, there are a couple of different car co-ops we could join. The trick is persuading Mr.Q, since it's his baby. But as the van is currently in the shop getting a new fuel pump...well, I think he's a bit closer to being convinced.

'Nuff rambling. Time to go start that soup....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


What Franklin said.

love (1,000,000+)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bits and Bobs

WWKIP day was rather more adventuresome than expected...but lots of fun all the same! A half-dozen of us met up at one end of the Skytrain, planning to ride out to the end and back, about 90 minutes' travel, then have lunch with another group. The outbound trip was relatively uneventful - if you don't count all the looks, comments, and conversations we got. (One particularly colourful character told "us ladies" to "have fun with our sewing". Which was especially funny coz there was a guy in our group.)

The trip back, though, was interrupted about halfway through by a "medical emergency" at one of the stations on our route, so the trains were all stalled for quite awhile. Eventually, we were told that we could only take the train so far, then we could catch a bus that would circumvent the station in question, where we could re-board. Unfortunately, there were rather a lot of other folks in the same boat. Or, rather, the same bus.

So, we decided to backtrack on the train instead, thinking that we could find lunch somewhere along the way. And maybe by the time we were finished, the trains would be running again. We stopped at a more or less random station, found a lovely fountain (and briefly pondered jumping in, but the security guard on duty seemed to think we might be up to no good, and was watching us rather closely)

We were directed to an odd-yet-charming little cafe called the "Fireside Cafe House of Cheesecake" - which looked more like a combination of a greasy spoon and a Legion hall or something. But it turned out to be quite tasty, and the owner was really sweet. We did not eat lunch here:

(Mmmm! Used deli sandwiches! My favourite! Somebody badly needs a copy editor)

The trains were still out of whack, so we rode as far as we could together before parting ways...ending with more of a fizzle than a bang. But it was still fun...and of all the people stuck on the trains, we were the happiest - we had our knitting!

Yesterday was just as lovely...a puttery day that involved several outings in the sun. (I'd like to feel virtuous about all the walking, but the truth is, the van is still dead, so there really wasn't a choice!) I spent the morning poring over cookbooks and making up a shopping list. I am so tired of eating the same things over and over. And it's getting too warm to eat heavy meals of pasta and stuff. I wanted new ideas, with lots of fresh veggies and not too much time on the stove. We have a gas stove, which I love cooking with - and which makes it pretty warm in here. Not the best for summer cooking.

I may have got a little carried away, as our grocery bill was quite a bit more than usual...gulp. But worth it, I think. Dinner tonight was so good - pizza on whole wheat flatbread, with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, asparagus, tomatoes, caramelized onions, feta, and mozza:

For breakfast today, I had a smoothy with blueberries, banana, yogurt (from a local dairy - they do this plain organic yogurt with just a hint of honey blended in - YUM!) and pomegranate juice...mmmmmm!

(And really, I'm only telling you about it because I wanted to take a picture of one of my fabulous new Ravelry pint glasses...I got pins, too, and a Bob sticker...what fun!)

And before you get all impressed with my virtuous/gourmet new menu - I had lunch at Taco Time today. I was at the mall, looking for new shoes. It's surprisingly hard to find a simple, plain pair of skateboarding shoes. I find them the most comfortable for city walking, and I desperately needed a new pair. As in, my old pair had holes in the holes - and holes in the soles, which meant lots of rocks in my socks. Not fun. (But apparently I'm channeling Dr. Seuss, and that is fun!)

Almost everything I looked at today had big logos in neon colours - and I am, like, so totally not going back to that; I've already survived the '80s once! - or they had cutesy pink camo prints or something. Gag me with a spoon! It took me about 3 hours, but I finally found a workable pair. I probably haven't voluntarily spent that much time in a mall since the '80s, either. Thank FSM for that gin and tonic I brought home the other day! Otherwise I'd be pulling my hair out. Or attempting that claw thing with my bangs again. And that much hair spray would be a fire hazard.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

There will be a quiz on Friday....

By now, you've prolly all figured out that my family isn't exactly "normal" - at least, not by the Cleaver white-picket-fence, Better Homes and Gardens standard. And I like it just fine like that: quirky, interesting, challenging, never dull...and full of valuable life lessons. Including, in honour of Father's Day, just a few of the priceless nuggets of wisdom and experience from my Dad, who has taught me....

*how to change a tire

*how to use power tools

*how to knit (with pencils and string)

*how to apply eyeliner

*how make scars and attach fake hair using Speed-sew

*that men can wear tights in public, too. Even pink ones.

*how to stand in the spotlight

*how to operate the spotlight

*how to properly project my voice

*to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N and ee-NUN-see-yate

*to put a red lens on a flashlight to use backstage

*how to be a good passenger on a motorcyle

*it's not the size of the Leatherman that's important; it's how often you use it

*how to pitch a tent

*that Leonard Cohen, The Band, Robert Service, and Shakespeare are really cool

*that duct tape holds the universe together

*the true-to-life versions of Mother Goose:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Had scrambled eggs for breakfast

and my favourite:

Mary had a little lamb
Her father killed it dead
Now Mary brings her lamb to school
Between two hunks of bread

There's lots of other stuff, like how to write effective letters to the editor, and how the solar system is like fruit...but I have to save something for next year!

(But, ummm....Dad? I'm kinda glad you were wrong about the whole spinach-putting-hair-on-my-chest thing. Nothing personal. But the toes are enough.)

Love you, Daddy-O!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Taking my schticks (and string!) on the road

I am awake far earlier than I should be on a Saturday. Especially for someone whose (pickled) husband called at 4:30 am to say he was trying to catch a bus home, but he'd actually missed the last night bus, and so his Saintly Wife got dressed to drive down and get him but the van wouldn't start so he had to take a cab but he didn't have any cash so his SW ended up sitting outside with cab fare until he got home and by the time she got back to sleep it was after 5:30...and no, she's not bitter that he's still sleeping while she's trying to make coffee and get functional.

(Holy shades of Meryn Cadell, batman!)

Truth be told, she really isn't bitter. She's so tired that she's about to burst into fits of giggles, actually. Today is like Christmas, only without the stinky dead fish! (Or the presents, but that might change, depending on proximity to yarn stores....)

Today is the High Holy Day of my people, and I am hauling my arse out of bed, and even out of the house, to celebrate appropriately. It's World Wide Knit in Public Day, and I'm out the door to join a flock of Ravelers to celebrate. We're going to ride the Skytrain out to the end of the line and back. Possibly twice.

I have my favourite knit socks freshly washed and ready to wear. With sandals. Today, I get a fashion law exemption. (Not that it would stop me anyway, but today there will be a mob of us, all armed with pointy sticks. Keep that in mind, any who feel faint at the prospect of all those sock feet in sandals...prowling in flocks all around the world...heheheheheheheheh)

Onward ho!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Note to self...

Check the mirror before leaving the house!

One item on my to-do list today was to go to Mountain Equipment Co-op (I am so Canadian!) for some new hiking boots. I want to go play outside a little more, and need some decent footwear (ie: waterproof!) to do so.

As I was getting dressed, I thought I'd wear a black t-shirt that looks especially sporty with my comfy cargo pants...get into the hiking theme, that kind of thing. So, I put my black bra on. But the t-shirt had dryer lint all over it - had to change it. Chose a cream-coloured tee instead. Looked great with the pants.

I didn't even think to change my bra.

Then, I had eggs for breakfast. They spit at me, yolk all over the table. (And yes, I did look to see if they got me - I didn't see anything.)

I went to MEC and spent a good hour in the shoe department, where a very helpful young man assisted me in trying on about 17 pairs of boots. I finally picked one out, he helped me find the appropriate protective goop for them, and I left feeling quite satisfied. So much so, that I decided to go across the street to Michaels and just see what kinds of crafty goodies might be on sale. A good call, it turned out: dishcloth cotton yarn was on sale for $1/skein. While there, all the coffee from breakfast started to catch up with me, so I headed for the ladies' room. With the big mirror.

Cream-coloured shirt and black bra? Not such a good combo. Add breakfast to the tee, and I'm just lucky the fashion police didn't taser me on the spot.

(Oh, wait, sorry - it's just the RCMP that do that. I mean, I'm lucky the FP didn't forcefully wax my eyebrows on the spot. Thankfully, my toes were hidden...)

I was so traumatized, I had to stop on the way home and get myself the fixings for some gin-and-tonic as a consolation prize.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nature Walk

Yesterday, of course, it rained again. Apparently June so far has been comparable to last November. November. Yech. And poor Mr.Q has to work outside. It wouldn't be so bad, except that somebody with sticky fingers walked off the job site with his rain gear. Poor guy had to fix a broken downspout yesterday. He came home a little damp:

Because Mom was in town again for work, he had just enough time to have a hot shower and get into dry clothes before we had to head out in the rain again. (I'd feel just the teensiest bit more sorry for him if he would wear his rubber work boots and at least keep his feet dry. Or use an umbrella. But no, he has to be all manly and stubborn. Dinglefritz!)

Mom took us out to a very tasty Mexican restaurant close to her hotel for dinner. It was a place I'd been once before, years and years ago, and I remembered it being really good. So I was both excited and a little nervous - much can change in a decade, and it wouldn't be the first time my expectations and remembrances were met with disappointment. Fortunately, this was not one of those times. Dinner was excellent, the service was friendly, Mom & Mr.Q didn't gang up on me as much as they usually do. Also, it was very warm inside!

Mom's hotel was also near Lost Lagoon. She mentioned she'd tried to find it, but couldn't. Well. The rain had let up, and a brisk walk would be just the thing after dinner. Also, the lagoon was only 2 blocks away. So we took her on a little sightseeing stroll. As we got to the park, a young couple with a bag of bread showed up to feed the birds.

The birds responded enthusiastically:

Mom got in on the action, doing her best duck-walk:

These birds were obviously used to humans. So much so that they assumed, since we were all just standing around, we must also have food for them. Swans? They are big birds!

When we escaped the ravening hoards, we went exploring through the rhododendron garden. The rhodies were pretty. But I was fascinated by the Tyrannosaurus Rhubarb, all huge and spiky:

And on the walk back to the hotel, another sight of freakish foliage - I have no idea what these are, but they look like candy corn.

By this time, the rain had started up again, and it was cold, so we said our goodbyes and headed home. We were lucky and caught our bus right on time (would have been a 30-minute wait if we'd missed it). I actually put an extra comforter on the bed last night, and the mountain of cats was even more welcome than usual.

Shameless plug: If anybody's looking for something to do around 8:00 (PST) tonight, Mr.Q's band The Gentle Infidels is playing live on one of the local campus radio stations...a show called "Melodies in Mind" - you can listen on the 'net. I may or may not tag along and hang out at the radio station while they do it...there's a chocolate knitting meet-up tonight, which is stiff competition...As in, a meet-up at a chocolate shop, not knitting chocolate. Though that could be interesting. Anyway. It's also fun to hang out in the studio - "yah, like, I'm with the band" - and watch the radio show in progress. I did a work study at CJSF when I was at school, so I have fond associations with the place. Though that campus in the rain, with all that concrete, is Depressing. Whereas chocolate and yarn are not. Hmmm. Tough decision....)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Playing hooky

Not only did we sleep ridiculously late yesterday...but by the time we got our lazy arses out from under the cats and vertical, the sun had actually come out. This event was, in fact, noteworthy, as it has been unseasonably cold for far too long. Enough so that the 2008 BG Triathalon World Championships, held here this weekend, apparently had to cancel the swimming because of the cold. After Friday's preliminary race, many of the athletes had to be treated for hypothermia. Brrrr! So - though we haven't been swimming in the bracing Pacific waters ourselves, the sight of sunshine was remarkable.

So much so that we decided it would be a waste of the weather to stay inside and do housework...we headed down for a walk through Stanley Park to English Bay. A perfect excuse to play hooky! We got off the bus near Lost Lagoon, and wandered along the water for a little while, enjoying the flowers and birds and the sunshine. We saw lots of swans:

Apparently there are a dozen or so who live in the lagoon. We were briefly concerned about one in particular, who had something weird going on with his (her?) foot - swimming around with one leg sticking out backward:

We ran into a friend who works at the interpretive centre at the lagoon and asked her about it. It seems that that's just how they rest. Kind of like swan yoga or something. It looked very odd, though, especially for such a graceful bird. (Useless trivia: a group of swans is not called a flock, but is referred to as either a "whiteness of swans" or - I love this - a "ballet of swans".) We watched the geese, a heron, a bald eagle, and lots of very chatty mallard ducks.

When I moved out to Vancouver the first time, to go to university, I was totally unfamiliar with the city. I lived here for a short time when I was very, very wee - like, 2 years old or something - and I don't think I ever came back until I moved here in the mid-90s. I spent the first weeks exploring the city, and trying to find some respite from the traffic and the noise and all the people. It was a bit of a culture shock, coming out to the Big City and finding myself at a university with a student population the size of my hometown. So any chance I got to look at trees, mountains, anything not involving human beans - I took it! I found myself down at Lost Lagoon one afternoon, and had the weirdest sense of deja-vu. I knew I knew this spot- but how?

Turns out my parents took me down there to feed the ducks when I was a munchkin. The trees were a bit smaller then. (Look familiar, mes parents?)

I took this one for my nieces, who think it's hilarious when the ducks stick their bums in the air:

We made our way through a whack of rhododendrons, and some crazy drivers, bushwhacked our way down a hill (no poison ivy, thank FSM!) and found ourselves on the sea wall.

Now, I miss the Rockies all the time, and I will always be a country mouse - an alpine country mouse. But there are things about living on the coast that are some compensation for being away from the mountains.

We sat on a bench and watched the sailboats and clouds for probably close to an hour. But the best part wasn't in the picture. I wish there was some kind of olfactory function on the camera, a scratch-and-sniff photo. That fresh, breezy, briny ocean smell is intoxicating. Add that to a lazy walk and the first hint of summer weather...bliss!

(Now, top that all off with an invitation to a spontaneous sangria party - was it really six pitchers? - and what you have, gentle readers, is a fine start to the summer!)

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Holy shades of university hangovers, batman! I actually (and totally accidentally) slept in until noon today. Only, in my old age, there was no booze involved. Which is good, coz I'd hate to actually have a hangover, and ruin this nice, lazy glow. Even if it does put a bit of a cramp in the day's schedule. Who cares? It's definitely worth it.

The surprising thing is that I actually got any sleep at all! I really think we need a bigger bed. Add a broad-shouldered 6-foot Viking to this:

And there's not so much room left, even for a hobbit. But it's awfully warm and cozy!

I think Mr.Q might actually be just this minute dragging himself out of bed to join me. The cats - not so much.

Friday, June 6, 2008


After I posted yesterday, I spent the day not-so-secretly hoping that Mr.Q would come home, get upset with me, say "No, no, that's not what happened. You missed something important." I was half-composing sheepish, embarrassed posts admitting that I'd made a mistake, my MIL hadn't just arbitrarily decided to destroy the cat, so sorry that I upset everybody. Planning what I could do to make it up to Mr.Q for so unfairly maligning his mother. I just wanted so much to be wrong.

Well, there was one piece of information he hadn't shared with me the night before. And I'm glad I didn't know it, or I would have been much less kind yesterday. Seems that MIL had written it into her will that, if she died before Angel, the cat was not to be adopted out, but to be put down with her. Regardless of his health, potential life-expectancy, and the availability of willing family members to take him on. None of that mattered - euthanize him.

Ummmm....Egyptian pharaohs aside - is it just me, or does that smack of a rather psycho-stalker-ish "If I can't have him no-one can"?

I am so, SO biting my tongue right now. I keep thinking there has to be some kind of karmic lesson here...tolerance, compassion, yada yada. The thing is, when she treats people that way, it's a little bit easier to bite my tongue and be all evolved and stuff in my reaction. Or at least, keep my mouth shut in her presence. Because people at least have a chance to stand up for themselves, whether or not they choose to. The cat, not so much. If there is anything we can do to discourage her from ever having another pet, we'll try our damnedest.

Mr.Q was so sad all day yesterday. He did ask me for one thing: to please post something about loving cats. So. Here are some pics of our very adorable, much-beloved fur people this week, keeping themselves busy in the rainy weather, complete with close-ups of their furry tangled-up feet:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

People are whacked

*Warning: rant ahead*

I am so mad right now I could spit. Or say inappropriate, unladylike words or something. Fiddlesticks. Jockstrap. Fart.


Nope, that's not helping. Here's the thing: Mr.Q & I are (in case you haven't noticed) cat people. We've been known to get a little carried away, from an outsider's perspective, when it comes to our beasties. When I was in university, I often lived on cheap rice and generic cornflakes, while the cats got the good food. The way I see it is this, though: When you adopt an animal into your family, you take on an unwritten contract with them. You get fuzziness, company, protection, comfort, warmth, pest control - and you provide security, food, and responsibility for their health and well-being. That's just the deal. And as the one with the opposable thumbs and the credit card, it's up to the human to uphold the contract.

Mr.Q is, if it's possible, even more of a cat person than I am. He comes by it honestly: his father, despite his burly, sometimes-obnoxious redneck persona, was the biggest marshmallow since Stay Puft, when it came to cats. He (my father-in-law) had this big, beautiful, fluffy, spitfire demon of a cat named Angel who travelled with him when he was away on long work contracts. When my FIL passed away four years ago, Angel kept my mother-in-law company - wouldn't let anybody else near him, in fact, just her. In the beginning, it sometimes seemed that the cat - and his connection to her husband - where what kept her going.

Now, my MIL and I don't have the closest relationship, but we try pretty hard for Mr.Q's sake. And as impatient as I can be, I'm not heartless. So when she called late last night to say that Angel had died, I was quite upset for her. What had happened? I knew she'd been concerned about a cough he'd developed, she'd said as much when I saw her last month. Was it kidney failure, a blockage, cancer? Poor cat...poor MIL!

Then again, maybe not. When Mr.Q got off the phone and told me the story - well, I've rarely seen him so angry. Here's what happened. Angel developed rapid, shallow breathing, and stopped eating, drinking, or using the litterbox, for three days before MIL took him to the vet. Three days. How much fun must that have been for him!

Finally, she decided to take him to the vet - to have him put down. Not to be checked out, not to see if there was anything they could do. Nope, she just decided that was it for the cat. The friend that took her tried to convince her to at least ask the vet if the cat could be saved. Nope. The vet asked if he could treat Angel and take him to the SPCA, if she didn't want him anymore - at no cost to her. Nope. She'd paid to have him euthanized, and that's what she was going to get.

Now, don't get me wrong - I know all too well how expensive vet bills can be. If it came down to it, and my cat was suffering, and there were no financially feasible options and nothing else I could do - I would have him put down. But this wasn't a question of money. She was given a choice, one that would cost her nothing, and she chose to kill the cat.

And it's not the first time she's done it.

I just don't know what to think about human beans sometimes. It makes me want to not get out of bed, some days.

(I do know that I am reminded, yet again, that I am very grateful for my own family. We may be a quirky bunch, but we're not batshit.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

My brain hurts

I just spent the whole morning doing the Quimby taxes, all by myself. The sense of victory will emerge soon, I 'spect, though right now it's buried (deep) under a fuzzy brain, well-fogged-in and stunned. I would celebrated by taking myself out for a coffee (since I need to get groceries anyway) but my period started this morning, and it's turning out to be one of those back-achey, so-bloated-my-jeans-don't-fit kind of things, where I'd be doing myself - and, really, the rest of the world! - a huge favour by staying in bed and away from the general public.

(The deciding factor will be whether or not we can squeeze just one more day out of the toothpaste tube...)

Also, I am moderately confused (and maybe slightly concerned) by my father's Facebook status update: He is excited that Mom is working on the car...he should have been a forensic pathologist, he can take anything apart., is the taking-apart thing part of fixing the car, or the cause of the car needing to be fixed?

Or is that a question better left unasked, and best left unanswered?

(How's that for a completely disjointed, plotless, largely pointless post? Hmm?)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby!

One of the (many!) best things about this trip home was that my youngest niece is now old enough to sort of remember who I am. Or at least, find me familiar and not too weird to get close to. Which is cool, coz she's the one that was born after I moved away, so we haven't had the same opportunities to get to know each other that her siblings & I have had. She's a cool little tyke (with a set of lungs that do her mother proud!) and I like her a lot. Also, today she's three!

Happy Birthday, Selah!