Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

Well. I had pondered the possibility of a meandering, thoughtful post full of ruminations and reminiscences on the year past....But, aside from the fact that "ruminating" makes me think of a grazing cow, I've had far too busy a day to have time to compose such an epistle.

A lovely day, mind you, with yarn fondling and new knitting notions and a most excellent lunch (bleu-brie, warmed, on a baguette with prosciutto, pear slices, toasted walnuts, olive oil and balsamic vinegar....divine!), all in the highly-enjoyable company of a certain yarnpiggy...

But still, a day too busy to allow for much of a post. Besides, I still don't have a card reader for that new-to-me camera. Maybe on the weekend? And now I have to start thinking about getting ready to go out for the evening.

Yes, the home-body Mrs.Q is actually going out for New Year's Eve. To a bar, even! Where Mr.Q's Queen tribute band is opening for a Who tribute, and a Doors tribute. How much fun will that be? Hmmm? I'm pretty stoked.

(And I'm totally bringing earplugs!)

Wherever you are tonight, I hope you're warm and safe, that you get home safe from wherever your celebrating takes you, and that your evening is as much fun (however you define that!) as mine looks set to be.

Happy New Year, Gentle Readers! May 2009 be full of laughter, light, love, music, whimsy, warm hand-knits (and/or hand-knitting), good people, magic, and excellent chocolate. Much love from the Quimby household to you and yours!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Yay for more holidays!

Starting into the second week of my Christmas break, and oh my! It's lovely. I'm trying not to talk about it too much when Mr.Q's around, as he had to get up at 5:30 this morning and head off to work as usual. Let's just not mention that after he left this morning, I went back to sleep till 10:00. (I never sleep that late! I guess I really needed it.)

In fact, the only thing that got me up then was an odd smell that I thought I should get up and investigate. Not a bad smell, just something unusual.

I forgot that I had put a chicken-mushroom thing in the slow cooker when I got up to see Mr.Q off for work. That's how tired I was. (And once I identified what it was, the smell was actually pretty tasty. Most excited about dinner, I am!)

Trying to decide if we have enough coffee to do us for tomorrow morning. If so, there's no need to leave the house until I go out tonight...which would be nice, since the weather continues to be crappy. It has warmed up and started raining...which means giant slush puddles on either side of the snow banks, and super-icy bits where sidewalks (I'd say at least 75% of them) went unshovelled. Meanwhile, inside, it's all nice and cozy, and the cats are setting an excellent napping example, and my PJs are comfy, and why would I want to give any of that up, if I don't need to?

Anyway. While I struggle to make that especially difficult decision, here are a few shots of the Christmas knitting I sent back to the Kootenays:

First, all of the "away" knitting, en masse:

4 hats, 3 headbands, a pair of slippers (not pink as shown, but burgundy) and a scarf.

The scarf, a one-skein "keyhole" thingy made with Malabrigo Silky Merino, I was not so sure about at first. Then I blocked it - and almost didn't send it away. Sooooo soft! Here's a better shot of the FO:

And two more of the hats on heads - first Dad:

And my tres-cool brother-in-law - I love the stylin' addition of the bow! As near as I can tell, he wore it like that all day.

(I dunno - I think the hat's a little short, but he swears it's OK. Hmmm....)

In other knitting-related stuff...I am about 1 inch away from finishing the main part of the body of the Viking Sweater of Doom (which is only about 2/3 of the body, but then I get to start shaping for sleeves and the V-neck, so it will be a slightly more interesting black hole of knitting.) I've got a couple different socks on the go, and am debating whether I want a wrap/stole thingy, or a sexy cashmere scarf, or a cardigan for myself for spring....any suggestions?

Mr.Q, thoughtful man that he is, got me a gift certificate to my favourite LYS for Christmas. I had hoped to get up there to play with it before they went on holiday, but the weather got in the way. O lovely Fate! Since I just found out they're having a sale in the very near future.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Ho Ho!

I am most delighted to report that we did, indeed, make it out for dinner last night, and even got a taxi home again after a certain amount of....adventure. And I am so glad we went. (Not only coz 2 turkey dinners is totally twice the fun! And twice the naps!) The "raspboffie" pie was quite tasty, the company of the most excellent sort, there were games and music, and Mr.Q got to bring home a toilet seat which he won in the "useless gift exchange." Really, does it get much better?

(Seriously - it was a fantastic evening. Mostly because this particular group of people seems to be the west-coast equivalent of the pot-lucking, music-making circle we miss from Home. Not a replacement - but a fantastic enhancement. And life is certainly richer with that kind of community!)

Woke up much earlier than I should have this morning, which may necessitate a nap later on. Of course, it was well worth talking to the kidlets and other fambly members, chaotic though it sounded. (Shiloh got a doll! That pees and poops! And comes with a diaper! Wow!) I'm of mixed feelings about staying here this year...I miss the mob like nuts. And I really liked going back to sleep in my own (quiet) bed.

Dad was kind enough to try for a few knitting photos for me. Here's Baby Sis, modelling her eggplant hat, which she has promised to wear in public:

Hopefully more to come...but I 'spect the kidlets were way too enthralled with the toys at hand to stay still long enough for a photo. I can't blame them, either. That doll sounded pretty cool.

(And we did have our own excitement here this morning, as the sardines seem a little rich for Bagheera all at once. I guess it's not really Christmas without cat puke!)

Merry merry to all, and to all a good knit night!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Again with the "whew"

So Bagheera's more or less fine. A persnickety old beast, as usual, but he's speaking to me again, so that's good. The lump on his leg? Not a tumour, nor an extra testicle, or nest of hatching tropical spiders, or alien life form....but a fat deposit. Which may or may not need to be removed, depending on whether it grows any more. However, he also needs some work done on his teeth - major cleaning, possible extractions, good times; he has very, very dry skin; and he (duh) needs to go on a diet. To add to the indignity, Mr.Q has started calling him "Lumpy."

The diet thing is complicated by the fact that he needs lots of fatty acids to deal with the dry skin. (Also, the vet was concerned about how we would manage to put one cat on Weight Watchers when there are two others in the house. I laughed. Have you seen the size of these beasties? Guess who're all going to Kitty Craig after Christmas!)

So they all get sardines for breakfast, and dry food at night. I tried out the sardines this morning, to see how they'd like 'em. They like 'em. (The smell gives me flashbacks to a high school play, Noises Off, that I did props for in Grade 11, but there's more than enough booze in the house to deal with that.)

We have to take him back in February to get his teeth done, at which point (since he'll already be under anaesthetic) they can also remove the lump. (The receptionist mentioned that she thought Feb was their "dental health" month, which would mean a's hoping!) In the meantime, the vet gave me some stuff for Bagheera's skin. I didn't really ask questions, I just wanted to get home - I was pretty traumatized by the drive there, and Bagheera was pretty traumatized by the thermometer.

But when I went to apply the stuff last night, I had a look at the package. And I have to say, I think I really like this vet. He was efficient, thorough in his explanations, gentle with the cat and human both....and the goop for Bagheera's skin is all natural essential oils and the like. No icky chemicals or steroids. I like that.

Returning the rental car was about as much fun as picking it up...yay Translink! (NOT.) It's dumping snow again, and we're supposed to go to a friend's for dinner tonight. I hope we can make it there (and home!) or otherwise we're going to be eating a whole banoffee pie between us for supper.

(Note to fambly members who also make this dessert - I'm trying it with raspberries instead of bananas, and I cooked the milk in a saucepan, instead of boiling the cans...a little tedious, but it seems to have worked well - and without the fun of exploding cans!)

I just really, really hope we can make it out to Sis's tomorrow for dinner! You know the roads are bad when you have to give a 2-hour window for arrival at the end of a 1-hour trip. ("We'll be there...I dunno...somewhere between 2:00 and 4:00? I hope?") Good times. Meanwhile...while I wait for the filling in the pie to cool, I'm going to do a wee bit of tidying, and then spend the afternoon in my PJs picking out a sassy sock pattern.

Merry Christmas Eve, all! Stay warm and safe!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Well. It's been a busy 24 hours chez Quimby, but the chaos is almost over. Bagheera has a "thing" on his leg...I'm not sure what, there's no evidence of a bite or a scratch, so I don't think it's an abscess. It doesn't seem to be bothering him at all, but it's just weird. It's kind of like he suddenly grew a testicle out the side of his leg. Very strange. I'm not all that worried about it, but we decided that it would be better to have it looked at before Christmas, if we could, rather than have something go apocalyptically wrong over the holiday and have to take him to the emergency clinic - an option far too rich for our blood.

Of course, not having a vehicle now makes trips to the vet an adventure. And this snow makes trips anywhere on transit a nightmare. So we decided to book a rental car for the day, and take advantage of it to get a lot of errands done. (Getting to the rental agency was enough to drive a saint to drink, I'll spare you the details!)

We picked up the car, did some running around last night, went for dinner....came home and still had to shovel out a parking spot before we could call it a day. (Poor Mr.Q's boots will prolly take days to dry out! I'm cooking him a tasty dinner tonight to make up for it.) However, one of the things we did last night was to pick up those gaiters for me...and holy cow, are they ever fun!

Fashionista, I'm not - but they did a great job when I was out trudging around today. Which was also an adventure, trying to find parking. I managed to not get stuck, thank FSM. Ran a ton of errands and did a major grocery shopping, so we're stocked up for the next few days. I thought it would be wise, since we're supposed to get yet another dump of snow!

No pictures yet...I need to go elsewhere to find a card reader for the camera, they didn't have one at London Drugs...and there's no way that's going to happen before next week. There's just no way I want it badly enough to make the 4-hour expedition. At least, not without a dogsled. I can't believe how paralyzed this city gets in the face of snow. I mean, it is a lot of snow, and the roads do get icy pretty quick, and the wind chill can be wicked cold, with the humidity...but the buses don't work, nobody shovels their sidewalks, people still drive like they're Nascar's nuts! So after I get back from the vets, and return the rental car...I 'spect there's going to be a lot of cozying up scheduled. to excavate the cat carrier from the snowdrift it's buried under. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Again with the snow!

Wow, you'd think it was winter in Canada or something! We got another dump of snow overnight, and it's started coming down again this afternoon. At least it's warmed up a bit.

(No, I know it's nowhere near as frozen as it is in many, many other parts of the country. But if your boogers freeze, it still counts as pretty darned cold!)

The thing about snow here is that people are just not equipped to deal with it. Also, the smallest difference in altitude can make a huge difference in depth of snow and crappiness of roads. Those extra few inches of the white stuff go a long way to wreaking havoc. Mr.Q decided to brave it anyway, and went over to the North Shore to pick up some books. And, hopefully, stop by MEC on his way home and pick me up those gaiters I never got around to. Thing is, about the same time he left, the transit website posted a note that, because it had started snowing heavily again, roads on the North Shore were like to "become impassable" in the next few hours.

I called and told him not to spend too much time browsing. Just in case.

Meanwhile, we're stocked up with coffee, eggnog, Christmas cookies, and soup. I figure we're good for a snow day. And...woot! I finally finished the last of the Christmas knitting yesterday. Squee! (Not including Mr.Q's Viking Sweater of Doom, which has been moved back to a birthday present.) So now I get to settle in with something indulgent for myself. Will it be cashmere? Those Rivendell socks? A wrap? Something lacy? The possibilities are endless!

And...I'll even be able to take pictures of the knitting soon - and the snow, and the cats, and and and....- as my dear Baby Sister sent us her old camera with the Christmas package from home. I need a new card reader thingy, since the "new" card doesn't work with our old reader, but what the heck - it's a darn sight cheaper than replacing the camera!

I put up our "tree" (such as it is - pictures to follow soon! Woot!) and stockings yesterday; went for a stroll to check out the neighbourhood lights with a certain Piggy the other night; picked up the turkey this morning & sent it off with Other Sis for dinner on Thursday; and am so far doing a reasonable job of not opening the stocking stuffers (though I can't say the same for the cats; somebody sent them a wee giftie that they got right into last we opened it for them: A catnip mouse. With a bell. That landed in the water dish. Good times.) And - I'm on holidays till after the New Year now. Feels a lot like Christmas, it does!

Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow day for really! (sort of)

Well, there wasn't enough snow this morning to cancel classes...but there was enough by lunchtime to send us all home early! Best of both afternoon playing hooky, without losing a full day's wages. Woot! I gave my students detailed instructions on how to make the best snowballs (go softer for spatter, for better effect!) and how to make snow angels. I was able to get a couple crucial-but-piddly Christmas errands done downtown before coming home. I walked home from the bus and made the first impressions on untouched snow. There's something so satisfying about that, the shush of the powder across my shoes.

(I don't have boots. I haven't been able to find any that work for me. Maybe, as my hiking shoes are fairly water-resistant, I'll just give into the urge to geek out and get a pair of gaiters.)

There's nobody home upstairs, either, and everything has that muffled air to it that comes with a heavy snowfall. (And yes, all you who would mock us West Coasties, there is actually a fair bit on the ground, so put that in your snow shovel and, well, shovel it!) There's eggnog in the fridge that I'm pondering heating up and spiking with some of that rum. I'm in my PJs, debating whether to wash some dishes, or curl up with the cats.

Any bets on which I'll end up doing?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Checking it twice....

  • *"Away" knitting finished & sent off - check
  • *Cookies for cookie exchange done - check
  • *Secret Santa gift ready to take to work - check
  • *Christmas cards - a qualified check - I have to try & buy stamps tomorrow (wish me luck!)

I even get to cross Mr.Q's gift off my to-do list, since he's informed me that all he really, really, really wants is to see Ravi Shankar in May, so we booked his ticket today.

(So now I have that "I'm too organized, what am I missing?" voice in my head....)

But - it snowed last night! Not much, and thankfully on a weekend, thus minimizing the transit/traffic snarls that inevitably follow a snowfall out here. Still - it's cold enough that it stuck, and there are a few gimpy, malnourished snowmen around, and the mountains were struck with that pink-gold alpenglow at sunset, and now it really, truly feels Christmassy.

Bit of a Ravellers' gathering today, sharing some tasty food and mulled wine and conversation, as well as moral support while we plowed through gift knitting. I almost didn't go - still feeling the Monster Cold, and I was pretty tired - but though I was very quiet and non-productive, it was good to be with my peeps for an afternoon. Home again, it feels way later than it really is...a busy week ahead, I'll have to keep on top of this cold so I don't crash at the end of the week and spend Christmas sick! Maybe I should go get proactive with some of that *ahem* medicinal rum in the cupboard....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snow day...a leetle bit

Well, we had the first snow of the season here today. The snowfall lasted about 45 minutes, nothing stuck, and then it turned into a very cold rain which continued all day. Yucky, true, and no snow-day-in-PJs for the Quimbys...but those few snowflakes did the trick, I think. It finally feels like the Christmas season. Up until about 8:23 this morning, I just wasn't feeling it. But now - now I feel festive and celebratory.

That could have something to do with the rather large bottle of amber rum that sort of accidentally came home with me today. Which will shortly transmogrify into a hot toddy. With lots of honey and nutmeg.

Still feeling gross - thanks for the get well wishes! - but I can lay low for most of the weekend and rest up. (Also, did I mention the rum?) I'm not sick enough to knock me out. Just enough to make me a little crabby and sorry for myself. It's the first bug of the season, and I'm a big wuss.

I have got as far as taking the box of Christmas stuff out of the closet (it's still sitting on the desk in my Magic Room) and buying Christmas cards. Mostly I've been plowing through the "away" knitting, which needs to be finished by tomorrow. And probably won't be. Most of it has been washed, blocked where needed, and is ready to go...but a couple pieces are still damp, and I've got one UFO yet. We'll just see if that medicinal rum helps with the finishing tonight! (I want to take pictures, but the camera is definitely toast. Not that I could post them till after Christmas anyway...bah humbug!)

I'm hoping to get Christmas cards done up & mailed this weekend - good pajama work - and baking done for the cookie exchange at work on Monday. I also have a secret santa to find something for (knitting would probably give it away, non?) and a Ravelry knitters' "do" on Sunday.

Maybe not such a lazy weekend, after all! But (hopefully) fun and festive. I have to say - as busy as this weekend looks in print - this low-key Christmas thing is definitely preferable to facing hoards of ravening mall rats and screaming devil children with pointy sticks. And I have a two-week "staycation" (to borrow that very useful term from Rachel!) to look forward to, starting next week.

Woot woot!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You told me so?

When I learned to knit socks, people told me that turning the heel would be soooo hard. But I love it - it's like a little bit of yarny magic every time I do it, and it never fails to amuse and amaze me.

People kvetched about Kitchener stitching, too, how finicky and painful it is. But I don't mind it one bit. I think it's a cool little bit of sleight-of-hand, how eveything looks all tidy and seamless.

Picking up stitches? Not my favourite, but it's OK. You say you hate weaving in ends? Oh, suck it up. It's not that bad. It just means a project is this close to being finished! It's a little ritual formality to mark the transition from UFO to "frack yeah, I rock!"

So when I heard people complaining about seaming, I assumed it would be much the same. I mean, I can sew decently when I put my mind to it, and I don't mind it. Really, how bad could it be?

Yeah, well.

It blows. It blows stinky, smelly, goats. Not even cashmere ones.

And no rum left. Sigh.

(It might not seem so overwhelming if I wasn't so bloody SICK, thanks to all those diligent students who insist on coming to school and hacking their nasty germs all over the place. Stinkers. Poor me.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Encroaching Decrepitude

Yesterday in one of my classes, we were doing the usual "And what did you do this weekend?" round of questions. One of my students said she watched (and I quote) "a really, really old movie."

I, knowing she's a bit of a film buff, was thinking something along the lines of Breakfast at Tiffany's, or maybe an old Hitchcock film.

"What was it?" I asked.

"Dead Poets' Society."

Guess I'll go get in line for my walker now.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Zoom zoom zoom!

Cell phone is officially dead. Hopefully Mr.Q will have time to pick up a new one this week. I think he misses it. He borrowed mine a couple times over the weekend when he was running errands, and he called me every 7 or 8 minutes while he was out. (Maybe once it was 12 minutes between calls....)

My Very Fabulous Baby Sister has offered us her "old" camera - yay! (You should pop over to her blog and check out the video of the Kids' Christmas Dance from her church party...My nephew is the wee laddie in khaki cargo pants and glasses, with the awesome sense of rhythm. He obviously gets it from his aunt.)

(His other aunt, more likely!)

Finally starting to feel the Christmas spirit. (The first rum-and-eggnog of the season may have had something to do with it.) I suspect it will always feel weird without snow. But the neighbourhood lights are starting to come out, and people are humming Christmas music under their breath. Seems a lot of people are having a lower-key holiday this year, and the consensus is it's nice. (often said while heaving a huge sigh of relief!)

We'll be staying here again, having dinner with my Sis in Langley. I've got 2 weeks off, and plan on spending as much of that time as possible in my PJs. I'm starting to feel the itch to knit socks again. There are bath salts that need using up. Those important things. (Like - re-reading the Harry Potter series, as I seem to have signed myself up for the Knitting/Crocheting House Cup in 2009. I do hope I get sorted into Ravenclaw. Though Slytherin might be fun, too!)

(Yes, I'm a geek. Your point?)

Oh, and there was a rat behind our fridge. Good times. We caught it and Mr.Q took it far, far away from the house. (We figured it would be faster to catch it tonight, if we could, than set traps and wait for FSM knows how long, all the while hoping the cats - who are so fired! - didn't get their paws caught.) I think it was only inside for a day or so. The space behind the fridge has never been so clean or sterile as it is now! I'm really, really hoping this was a one-off, that it got in when Mr.Q left the door open for a bit on the weekend. Coz the weather's getting quite cold, and there's new construction just down the street. And we happen to be the closest house.

Yeah. Good times.

(How's that for completely random, plotless posting? More to come, I hope!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Coming up for air

Still alive, still conscious....been a crazy couple of weeks Chez wackiness for both of us (yes, Ma, we're both still employed. For the moment, anyway!) Insaner-than-usual for Mr.Q and band rehearsals; I'm buried under a mountain of Christmas knitting but have somehow also found myself signed up for a cookie exchange at work...will post more later if I can find the time this weekend. (No pictures, though, our camera finally died. Hopefully we'll be getting a new one for Christmas, but that depends on whether we need to replace Mr.Q's cell. Which is now very clean, having gone through the wash, but not especially functional. It's with a friend who's good with that kind of thing...please send Get Well Soon thoughts....)

Jeans Day! Yay!