Wednesday, July 30, 2008

One of those days

I'm having the kind of afternoon that only this could cure.

I needs one.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A slippery slope...hand me the crazy carpet!

Lots going on, but most of it prolly not all that interesting to anybody 'cept the voices in my head telling me what to do....Doh! They did tell me not to mention them. Oops! Well, I don't always do what I'm told. Too bad, so sad! They'll just have to suck it up, or I won't feed them any more chocolate.

Anyway. I've suddenly found myself in one of those bursts of activity, which involves doing things I've been meaning to do for awhile, but just haven't got around to till now. Big loads gone to the thrift store -I cleared out at least 1/3 of the clothes in my closet, cut my fabric stash in half, got rid of a box full of dishes...and have since been eyeing my bookshelves rather ruthlessly. (And two boxes of cassettes that haven't been opened in years...I'm more likely to start wearing legwarmers again than listen to any of them! Maybe time to let 'em go, non?)

I'm at the half-way point, more or less, with Tuscany, and am having a bit of a dilemma. I've started into the second skein of STR, and though they are indeed from the same dye lot - ordered at the same time - the second skein is in no way whatsoever knitting up the same as the first. Not even similar. The colours are the same, 'tis true, but instead of nice tones of blue with white-ish flecks (the first 15 inches of the shawl) I've got nice tones of blue with white-ish stripes across the shawl, starting about halfway up the back.

The question is, can I live with it? Coz as obvious and currently annoying as it is...if I rip it back, I won't re-knit it. It will drown in the frog pond. And it's close enough to finished that I'm getting a sense of just how luscious and drapy the finished shawl will be. How cozy it will be, wrapped around me the next time I go to a concert at the Orpheum. That kind of thing...mmmm! But...stripes? I'll have to knit a couple more inches before I can really decide, I guess.

Knitting crises aside, I found myself downtown the other day. Not somewhere I go often, if I can help it, but I was following a whim (and, it must be said, the encouragement of Mr.Q), and I ended up here:

When I left 15 minutes later, it seems I was suddenly enrolled in an Italian class for September. Oops! Gosh, I hate when that kind of thing happens...not! I've wanted to do this for awhile. I guess the trick was to quit thinking about things and JFDI, as my Dad says. Always so many reasons to be sensible, wait till later, save the money, blah blah blah. F**k the sensible voice in my head; I'm going with the voice that wants to eat pasta and drink wine!

Went home and made a fancy dinner to celebrate. (Indian, not Italian, just to be perverse.)

And the de-cluttering, clearing out the old and bringing in the new, has reached an interesting (and long-awaited, on my part) new height. The Old Gray Mare (TM) has been put out to pasture, so to speak. Mr.Q sold her to a young band in need of a touring vehicle...and we are going to join the local car co-op for our minimal city-dwelling automotive needs. A farewell photo, for sentimental purposes:

I decided to celebrate that (or, well, something) by getting a bunch of photos printed up, which I've been meaning to do for awhile (like, oh, a year!) and putting them in frames. And then actually putting them up on the wall on the very same day!

(Of course, today it pissed rain. So I was not so excited about being without wheels. But, I didn't melt. Guess we'll just have to invest in some real rain gear this winter...which we're overdue for anyway, 'specially in this neck of the rainforest!)

Meanwhile, we're gearing up for a weekend away...eez our anniversary this weekend, and we're trying out another B&B cottage on Bowen Island (which, fortunately, is covered by an extension of Vancouver transit!)

You know, all this stuff going on...I'm gonna wake up one of these days and find that I've got nothing to be all wittily cynical about! (Ummm...note to the powers that be: I am so totally OK with that!) Things is good. And I get that they're good. And that's good!

I'll leave you with a pic I just realized was still on my camera: Mom's completed first (and only, probably!) dishcloth:

(It's the blue-y one, on top of the red one. Which is one in a series of three - now four, I guess! - in a frame above her sink: one done by each of my sisters and I, and now Mom's. Good work, Mama-san!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Loose ends

I finally just had to give up writing about my trip home. There are really only so many ways to make "slept in tent, had coffee, saw kids, got sunburned" interesting. To read about, that is. The doing was fantabulous, but to keep writing about it...well, either you were there, and don't need to read about it; or you weren't there, and there's no point, coz a few photos and sentences just aren't going to capture it, really. It was marvellous.

I came back with a highly-uneven suntan, and feet in desperate need of professional pedicure-y attention. In the midst of the best of it, delightfully satisfied after a potluck fit for royalty (elk! mmmmm!) my friend Beth summed it up perfectly: we were sitting with our sun-hats on, friends playing music, drinks in hand, throats tired from singing....and she looked around us, sighed, and said "Now this is the life! I do wonder what the rich folk are doing right now?" Amen!

(I'm happy to report that my guitar survived the flight home in one piece. With big "FRAGILE" stickers slapped on both sides of the case - very cool. I feel like such a big kid, now!)

And now I'm back into the swing of things in The Big City. It's good, of course, to be back home with Mr.Q and the kitties. It helped that I came out of a weekend with about 36 hours of non-stop home-grown music, and back to an Emmylou Harris concert. Just wow.

Her genuine love of music and total lack of ego or pretentiousness are inspiring. She's amazing. Also, I want her hair when I grow up!

(Before you start getting cavities from all the sweetness and light: I woke up to discover that Mr.Q had absconded with my brownie this morning! I was so looking forward to eating it for breakfast. He is in so much trouble!)

(Also, I have a cold sore...I'm not sure which is worse - the itching, or the no-kissing! Wah! Though after the Great Brownie Heist, I'm not sure a certain someone would be getting any kisses, anway. Poor, poor me!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Love at first byte

I so totally heart Joss Whedon (love: eleventy-hundred bazillion!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adventures at the Lake

Mom & Dad took the kidlets & I out to Peckhams yesterday afternoon. Which largely consisted of Mom & Dad sitting in the shade, watching me in the water with the munchkins for most of the time. And then Mom thinking she could best me in a water fight. Ha! I laugh (and blow water through a beach noodle!) in her general direction!

A brief illustrated summary of the expedition...

And boy, did I need that cold beer when I got home!

Monday, July 14, 2008

O, those wacky Terrible Lizards of Doom! (the series finale)

Whew! By mid-afternoon on Saturday, we were all a bit tired. After the museum, we went through Reptile World...mixed feelings about that one: lots of rescued snakes and lizards, and there seemed to be a conservation/education component to the whole thing. But. Animals in captivity, and rather dingy accomodations at that. Errrmmm. Yeah. As cool as the coral snakes and copperheads were (didn't get to hold the python - poop!), I could have done without and not felt that I was missing much.

Anyhoo. Some lunch to re-fortify ourselves, and we went off to do the one thing left on my wish list: Visit the World's Largest Dinosaur. Mom & I climbed 86 feet to the mouth. Cheezy, but fun. Mom, goofing off in the Jaws of Death:

You can't really see it well, but the same picture, from Dad's perspective below:

(There was also a pic of Dad taking our photo, but it was really, really bad.) I love the footprints in the water park below:

And the sock gets adventurous with Dino:

Last, but not least, a trip across the street to a gift shop for postcards and ice cream. And a little yarny close-up with the neighbourhood Allosaurus...Dinosaurs like knitting, too:

Maybe a little too much? Nom nom nom!

And that was that! Back to the campsite for a relaxing evening of knitting around the fire, playing dice, watching the moon come out...oh, yeah, and a bug bite on my eyelid that made me look like Quasimodo without the hunchback. Very attractive. So sexy that the nice man about to lock up the pharmacy at the grocey store let me in for antihistimines.

It were a long, hot drive home, but well worth it. Fun to go somewhere different, see something new - have some unscheduled R&R with the parents, away from the phone and computer and telephone and the busy-ness of daily life. So good, in fact, that we talked about doing an annual summer camping trip in lieu of Christmas...but more on that another time. My fingies are tired from all this typing, and I need a(nother) beer after 2 hours with the kidlets at the lake...much, much fun, and I got me a wicked sunburn.

My Jurassic Journey, Part 2

Saturday, after breakfast (why does coffee taste SO GOOD when you're camping? Or maybe it was just the very long train that blew its whistle every 30 seconds for what seemed like an hour in the middle of the night...) we put on our walking shoes and headed for the dinosaur museum. I was anticipating ravening hoardes of devil children, but it was actually not too bad.

(*Rant* It's actually not the kids I mind, it's the parents. Most of the families there were awesome and the kids very well-behaved. But there were a couple of parents I could easily have fed to the nearest Albertosaurus! *End Rant*)

Walking into the exhibits, we were greeted by a happy dinosaur family:

Then, into the room with the T.Rex and other predatory dinos...some serious teeth on those beasties! There was a display of several different teeth with some rather intense serrated edges. Very cool. The parents insisted that I get a sock picture with the T.Rex:
Nom nom nom! Unfortunately, he took the bait, and a bit of adventure ensued:

OMG, he's coming right for us!


(Question: Is Dad trying to stave off the monster, or beat me over the head?)

(Yes, we did get some funny looks. Your point?)

Moving more sedately through the rest of the museum, we encountered all kinds of interesting beasties. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle:


A stunning ammonite fossil:

(Wouldn't that make a great colourway for some sock yarn?)

Dino-burgers for dinner...this guy liked them really rare:

And Jar-Jar Binks:

It wasn't a huge museum, we walked through in under 2 hours. But totally worth the trip. And we finished just as a science camp or something, with several dozen kids, came into the building. Great timing! Before we left, Mom & I walked up to the viewpoint above the museum, where we looked through the binoculars at Dad looking at us (there was a lot of that going on all weekend)

I am in love with the badlands.

What blew my mind was that we weren't looking at hills, we were looking up at the prairie from inside it, from the bottom of an ancient sea bed. I could imagine walking into the water from above, what all the slopes and drop-offs would have been like from the water. It was quite a trip, even without any recreational pharmaceuticals!

More adventure ensued, but will have to wait a bit. We're off to take the niblings to the lake...which, I'm sure, will be an adventure worth its own telling!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Me oh my, what'll I do? I can't find a dinosaur to eat me up!

So...Mom & Dad took me on an adventure to find one! It was a great weekend...I 'spect I'll have to break this into two or three posts, so here goes! We left Friday morning for Drumheller, in the Alberta first time in that corner of the country.

The majority of the drive (about 6.5 hours from Cranbrook) was nothing new - a familiar drive through the Rockies into the foothills of Alberta. But once we passed Calgary, it was a different story. I'm a mountain girl through and through, so hitting the prairies was quite an eye-opener. It felt very exposed, all that flat land and sky! But lovely - rolling hills, the bright yellow canola fields in bloom, watching the shadows of the clouds wander across the grasslands as far as I could see. (I did try for some photos, but they just couldn't capture it)

About 15 minutes or so outside of Drumheller, though, you get the first glimpse of the Badlands at Horseshoe Canyon. It's quite the mind-bender. There's no subtle grade in or out, just this huge gash in the otherwise flat prairie. It's stunning. And steep. The sock liked it:

It was very windy, too:

I had great fun taking pictures of Dad taking pictures:

And, of course, the ubiquitous self-portrait:

Then, on to Drumheller and our campsite. There are dozens and dozens of rabbits that live in the campground, including some very sweet babies:

They pretty much just run wild around the site. And judging from their numbers, they do seem to live up to their reputation for, well, breeding like bunnies.

We got the tent set up, rigged a tarp over the picnic table (great father-daughter bonding!) and settled in for the night. We were camped right next to a dike alongside the Red Deer River, and, looking out over the fence, we got our first glimpse of the celebrated residents of Dinosaur Valley:

Raawwrr! A good omen of the day to come. Saturday was packed with fun and adventure, and the tale will have to wait a bit. But here's a teaser (just for you, Jel!):


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Knitters Gone Wild

Yesterday morning, with a largely unscheduled day stretching ahead of me, I realized that I haven't yet really taken advantage of the fine Kootenay summer weather. One of the things I pictured myself doing a lot of was absolutely nothing, next to one lake or another. But except for the short, impromptu picnic with Mr.Q last week, I haven't been near a lake. A sad oversight which needed to be corrected! So I grabbed a camp chair and a towel, a book and some knitting, and headed back out to Peckhams.

There are numerous lakes in the area that are each great in their own particular way. But Peckhams remains my favourite - a stunning setting at the foot of the Rockies; cool, clear water - you can see down to the bottom at any point in the lake; and just enough off the beaten track that it's usually not too busy.

Sure enough, when I got to the lake, there were three other vehicles in the parking lot, and only one family visible on the water. I wandered down a path at the other end of the lake (it's a very wee lake - when the water's just a bit lower you can walk around it in about 30 minutes) and found myself a spot where I couldn't see another soul. One of the things I like about Peckhams is that it's quite wooded around the lake; paths and picnic tables are set through the undergrowth, and each picnic spot is quite private.

I set up my chair in the shade, pulled out my journal...and proceeded to doze on and off for a half-hour or so. I watched several dozen tiny orange butterflies dancing around the edge of the lake. I watched minnows on school parade near the shore. I watched the wind rippling the lake, and listened to my own private symphony of the birds and the bees. This was the view from my seat:

Then, when I started feeling truly sleepy, I rolled up my pants and went for a wade. It was just perfect. Being spring-fed, the lake is usually quite cool, even cold, well into the summer. It wasn't so icy this year - still cool, but comfortably so. Teensy fish swam around my legs (if you stand still enough for long enough, they'll come nibble on your toes) and I could see through the water almost all the way across.

Sounds idyllic, non? Well, just to prove it's not quite perfect - when I got out of the water, I found that a bird had pooped on my towel. Fortunately, I had laid it over my sandals, so they missed the hit.

Before I left, I took some pictures of my two current projects (and got some darned funny looks from the family down the lake...heheheheh). First - Tuscany: coming along nicely, though still quite a ways to go. It's a great "first" lace project, an easy pattern to memorize and "read", and I'm still enchanted with it. I didn't, however, think to get a close-up of the stitch pattern. Next time!

My portable project - a sock (of course!) from Enchanted Knoll, in the Sedona colourway. Only mine's not superwash & nylon - it's merino and silk...yum! The colours remind me of summertime out here, which is why I chose to bring it on this trip. My Kootenay Summer Sox (or, the ribbing on the first one!):

Not much time for knitting to strike the tent and get ready for a weekend adventure. Mom & Dad are taking me to Drumheller, Alberta, for my first time, to see the dinosaurs. Raawwrr!

(Apparently our campsite is right across the street from the World's Largest Dinosaur - very cool!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

It's not that I've been avoiding the's just that the days are running into each other in a way that isn't always (or even often) blog-worthy, however they might be delightful to experience in person. (Also, the only real "excitement" has been new drama with my mother-in-law, and trust me, you don't want to hear about it!)

There have been some lovely moments over the last week, though...A walk with Mom through the community forest, full of good, spicy pine-forest smells - Christmas smells! And it seems I wasn't the only one who thought so:

I love walking through the forest. It's not majestic and awe-inspiring like the cedars back on the coast - rather, it's scruffy, scraggly, untidy...and it smells wonderful at the end of a hot day. (Not to many skeeters, either, thankfully!)

I've spent some lovely hours with good friends, puttering, watching kids smush cake into their ears or pick sprinkles off donuts one at a time, sitting on decks chattering or in comfortable silence...A highlight was a particularly tasty (and elegantly simple) lunch with Anie - juicy tomatoes on sourdough toast, with a white wine spritzer to wash it down. Doesn't it just look like summer to you?

Yesterday I had a couple of hours to myself in the afternoon. I had a successful expedition to the thrift store - new jeans & a pair of capris for a grand total of $6! I celebrated by going to Elizabeth Lake to see how the geese were growing. The fuzzy wee fluff-balls from May:

Have grown into sassy, over-confident adolescents...with Mama still on guard, of course!

It was a little unnerving to have all of them come at me hissing, wings raised, when I got too close!

I've been "camping out" in the back yard...built a cozy nest for myself in the tent, where I read late into the night with my flashlight...feels like I'm in Girl Guides again. Such delicious sleeps! This morning I was woken up by a hummingbird doing a fly-by around the tent. It's going to be weird sleeping in a bed in a room in a house when I go home! Maybe I can set up the tent in the Magic Room or something...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Postcard from the edge...

Not much to report, really...Summer in the Kootenays is hot and languid, punctuated by the occasional spectacular thunderstorm that makes one think of Odin hosting a wild drum circle in Valhalla (and if they didn't have drums in Norse mythological times, please don't disillusion me!)...lots of mellow time with family and friends, but at that slow pace that's a rare treat. Long, lazy dusks, camping out in the backyard (and that damned woodpecker at 6:00 am!)

Some pics from the last few days, including ones that I didn't get around to posting with the last entry....

The Tickle Camel in full force (I think he still has the rug burns on his knees):

When that got to be too much, he switched gears - one kidlet on his shoulder and 2 or 3 holding onto his legs to be dragged across the floor (not sure of the status of their rug burns):

Meanwhile, Shiloh was serenading them with a song on her "upright bass" - one of Mr.Q's old guitars which he passed on to the niblings. It was quite an involved song, about how somebody was going to get hurt, but it was OK because they all had hands:

A lovely moment with Selah, all the more adorable coz last summer, she wouldn't go near Mr.Q:

In the morning, they wanted to play "that game" from the night before. "The Tickle Camel is too tired and sore," they were told. "Not that game! The one where you get a time out and have to go to bed without any supper!" Played with far too much enthusiasm, if you ask me!

Yesterday Mr.Q had to fly back to the coast. I get to stay a couple more weeks (O bliss!) We played hooky for the afternoon, took some sandwiches out to our favourite spot, Peckham's Lake (without the snow!) and baked in the sun for an hour. Home for dinner - Mom made T-bone steaks and banoffee pie (I get to eat the last piece tonight! Hooray!) Then I took him out to the airport, where we went around the corner for a bit of a snog and got busted by one of the Air Canada ticket agents...oops! (Well, OK, not really busted, but he sure did give us a funny look!)

Self-portrait, with freckles:

And he was off! A bit of a scare when Brigid kitty didn't come in last night or this morning, but she was there when he got home from work. The van's home, too, for a little less than we'd feared. Whew!

Now that I'm solo for a couple of weeks, I'm going to go cozy up with the new love in my life - the air conditioner. Or maybe stick my head in the freezer, at least till Mom comes along and smacks me for it. (Love you, Ma! Just checking for chocolate chips!)