Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tonight we're gonna party like it's...Oh wait, that was 10 years ago!

New Year's Eve: a day that lends itself to introspection, retrospectives, and thoughts on lessons learned. And I have learned a lot, especially over the last 2 blissful holiday-ing weeks. Shall I share? Oh, alright then - here you go:

I have learned....

*That I could happily not leave the house, or even get out of my pajamas, for days at a time. At least, in winter.

*That said days-not-leaving-the-house are a wonderful opportunity for sleeping in, cuddling with beasties, reading, making vasty vats of soup, baking bread, even organizing cupboards.

*That Firefly just never gets old.

*That a low-key Christmas spent with good people is always enjoyable. Even if I did miss my family, and may have been the teensiest bit homesick.

*That I would happily be a kept woman, if it were financially feasible; and Mr.Q would definitely enjoy "keeping" me if it meant coming home from work to fresh-baked bread on a regular basis.

*That we can eat an entire loaf of fresh-baked bread in a day. And it's even better when toasted & spread with my Mom's rockin' peach jam. (NOM!)

*That I don't miss going downtown at all. Not one teensy-tiny littlest bit.

*That weekdays off mean more opportunities to spend time with friends not often seen.

*That, while I may show remarkable restraint at a Boxing Day yarn sale, I am still weak-like-kitten in the face of a BMFA "Rare Gems" sale. (Oooops!)

*That I have a lot to be grateful for, and if I have one "resolution" for 2010 (besides avoiding brain-meltage during the Owelympics in Feb!) it's to try to be more conscious of the many blessings in my life. Starting with my awesome husbeast, as we come up on 10 years together. (TEN YEARS. OMGWTFBBQ!) I'll spare you the mushballs for now, but that's only coz I have to go get ready for our date tonight. (I think this is maybe the 3rd NYE, out of 10, that I've had him as an actual date, not part of the entertainment! Woot!)

However you choose to bring in the new year tonight, may you be safe, warm & loved while you do it. And may the New Year - and the new decade! - hold much wonderful-ness for you and yours.

(Wow. That turned out a lot sappier than I intended! Well, you know what? I'm just gonna run with that!)

Happy New Year, from all of us Chez Quimby!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

At last!

Well, it took me awhile longer than usual, but I finally dug out the stockings & cleared off the table for our wee Christmas "corner":

There are still a couple sooper-seekrit gifts hidden away (and I can say that safely, as Mr.Q isn't likely to look at the blog before Friday morning!). I bought bagels this morning, lox is in the freezer, my Secret Santa at work gave me a bottle of sparkling wine, & I picked up some tasty OJ for our traditional Christmas morning mimosas. Mr.Q's out getting the last few supplies to get us through the weekend, so we can hunker down and get busy doing SFA for 3 days. He works a half-day tomorrow, during which time I'll be baking a pumpkin pie to take to a turkey dinner with friends tomorrow night.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time off; it seems I needed it more than I knew, as I promptly broke out in cold sores as soon as I settled into relaxing. For me, that's a sure sign of deferred stress. And I've been sleeping about 9-10 hours a night. I've even (and I may have to see a medical professional for this) started catching up housework without having to bribe/force myself! I'm a little worried about that last...

The thing is, I can't figure out what exactly I'd be stressed out about. I s'pose it's just a concatenation of wee things, all adding up like little sneaky ninjas...but they've been caught out, now. My plan for the next week and a half is to do more catching up on sleep, as well as a couple vats of tasty soups and other healthy goodies for the freezer. That way, when we get into the new year, we won't fall behind on meal planning like we have over the last month; and it'll be a lot better for us than our default scrambled eggs or pizza. At least, that's the plan!

As a Solstice present to myself (and to aid in the whole self-care thing) I've started this scarf. in that Cash-Silk Lace. It is...utterly decadent! And I think it's calling my name as I type. I'm bargaining with myself: fold one more pile of laundry, package up cookies for a couple more gifts, and I can spend the rest of the evening knitting. So - I'm off then. I mean, I love y'all, but there's just something about the way that yarn feels....mmmmmmm!

('scuse me, I need to go have a personal moment now!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A week in pictures

A busy weekend, settling into holiday mode after a very frenetic couple of weeks. I think I’m finally rested up enough to appreciate that I’ve got 2 weeks to relax. Before I get back to the endless black hole of baking (I'm trying chocolate crinkle cookies. I think they're a hit: Mr.Q told me they "made his knees happy.") here are a few of the last week's highlights...

Took a group of students to see the Christmas lights at Van Dusen Gardens. It was wet, but excellently festive:

Blasted through a crazy week getting marking etc. finished up before the holiday, and slept like the dead for about 10 hours on Friday night. Saturday was a great day, as I had a man in uniform show up on my doorstep with a surprise:

(I wonder what could be inside? Surely it must be something special, don't you think?)

Mmmmmm! Semi-local honey mead. Several bottles. Merry Christmas to me! It got me through the rest of those damned cardamom cookies (note to self: cut-out cookies are evilness!).

And I started the chocolate crinkle cookies this morning. They taste even better than they look:

I'm going to have to booby-trap the rest of the batch so Mr.Q can't eat them all.

I did a little giftmas sneaking around today while he thought I was at knitting. (I mean, I was at knitting, and maybe also Three Bags Full, where I may or may not have sort of accidentally-on-purpose acquired a skein of Sweet Georgia's Cash Silk Lace in her "Nightshade" colourway...if pressed, I will insist that the voices made me do it. Specifically, beentsy's voice.) At any rate, I left early and was very tricksy. I'm feeling quite pleased with myself. I have it on good authority that "Santa" is bringing me a DVD of Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog, and there needs to be some carefully-chosed reciprocity for a gift as thoughtful as that.

I am so sneaky. I would make an awesome super-villain. After I finish baking all these cookies.

Oh! Look at my wrist, gotta go!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Finally sitting down after a mad afternoon of Christmas baking. There's a cookie exchange at work tomorrow, so I had to make several dozen. It's a new recipe, too, which required some fiddling to finally get it sorted...Even so, perhaps a quadruple batch was a little much! Especially coz my arms were pretty tired after a day of carrying this not-so-wee laddie around:

(Note the very twee jacket! I am such a clever auntie!)

Mr.Q even got in on the action, though he was quite nervous at first. When it comes to babies, he seems to think that he'll either break them, or they'll start doing gymnastics and flip themselves out of his arms. Or both. But he did try, a couple times even, and by this morning, he was a bit more comfy:

Yes indeedy, there was much snorgling going on! And eating - Mom cooked a huge turkey dinner last night, and a big breakfast this morning. And probably more discussion of the mechanics of childbirth and baby poo than Mr.Q probably ever needed to know!

Then we made our way home to this:

Given the weather, cookie exchange notwithstanding, it's been a perfect afternoon to bake cookies. Dozens and dozens of them. (And I still have half the dough to bake up! Oy!) I also made some tiger butter:

Which will hopefully finally set, now that the oven's off and it can cool down in here a bit! IN the meantime, we've been working our way through Mr.Q's rather eclectic collection of seasonal LPs. The Joan Baez currently playing may make me want to stab my eyes out. But the Canterbury Choir was positively goose-bumpy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A few of my favourite things...

I thought it was past time to post some pics of the lovely gifties that prickle presented me with at the Festivus Miracle Swap. She knitted up some cozy wrist-warmers, and added some stretchy gloves to layer underneath; I have barely taken them off since Saturday, as it's been cold here! She also felted a funky Bodum-cozy that does a most excellent job of keeping the coffee toasty-warm. And she included a sweet wee ornament & very cool apron, both made by her mother. (Thanks, prickle's mom!) The apron is rather more wrinkled than when I got it, as it too has been put to much use. (There was also a packet of cute little note-cards, which will be perfect for writing thank-you notes to practicum students when they leave my class.) All in all, I felt quite spoiled!

Here's a closer-upper shot, so you can see the pattern on the gloves & the wee stocking ornament more clearly:

Yes indeedy, quite spoiled! And on Monday, I got an even better Christmas present: Little Sis finally had her baby, and I get to be an auntie again! He's a strapping laddie by the name of Liam, and I have to wait till Saturday to meet him. It's killing me, too. If I can manage between snorgles and trying not to eat him (he is soooo adorable!) I will try to get some pics of him in his Baby Surprise Jacket. Which will probably only fit him for another week, so it's now or never!

Now, because I am clearly crazy, I am off to start a hat for one of Mr.Q's friends. I am such a sucker - the more so because he wants black, dear Bob! - but I couldn't resist someone who a) is so awed by knitting (and thought it was even more amazing that it wouldn't take me dozens and dozens of hours to knit a hat! I must be super-knitter! Wow!); and b) offered me a big bottle of Baileys as payment.

(I just can't take money for knitting from friends; the idea of charging them an hourly rate that fairly compensates me for my time is absurd. I'd far rather knit only for those who appreciate it, and work out a trade.)

So. As I said. Off to knit. Black. (Heavy) sport weight. I must be flipping nuts!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cold December Night...

...made much warmer with the addition of handknits. And, of course, the knitters who knat them. Last night's Festivus Miracle Swap Party was great fun! A couple of pics to illustrate the highlights (not including one of me wearing the Bodum cozy made for me by my fabulous secret swap partner! Which, by the way, was placed atop my noggin before the sangria started flowing. For the record!)

A close-up...
And a better view of some of the 18 knitters freaking out the locals in the pub:

Good times, my friends! Good times.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Love Saturday

I love Saturdays that feel lazy, but are actually quite productive. (Actually, I love most days like that!) There was a bit of sleeping in, some housework, a walk in the sun, a couple Christmas parcels mailed, some errands run....and a few photos taken! It's been too long since this here blog has seen any knitting content. Not because I haven't been knitting, just coz none of it's been at an interesting place to document.

But. I've been working frantically to get the last of the finishing done on the baby sweaters. As said baby is taking his/her sweet time emerging, and I did not want any of my unfinished baby knits to be responsible!

Pics of the knits in question...Baby Surprise Jacket the First - just under 2 skeins of Koigu - the first pic shows the whole jacket; pic #2 is closer to the real colour:

And BSJ 2 - Mission Falls 136, just over 2 skeins; the second pic shows the buttons more clearly:

(I swear, I could knit these things just to play with buttons!) At any rate, all outstanding baby knits are finished, washed & blocked, so the Pickle has no more excuses to stall the Grand Entrance!

And that's all I can show you for today; my other interesting FO is destined for my Festivus swap partner...To be delivered at tonight's Terminal City Yarn Wranglers' Festivus gathering at a downtown pub.

I'm looking forward to the looks on their faces when 18 knitters descend upon them and partake of the Saturday Sangria special...I somehow doubt it'll be what they expected! (And they were told it would be a group of knitters; the woman who made the reservation asked for somewhere with good lighting so we could knit....)


Clearly I am too easily amused.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

High Winds White Sky

Came home a little later than I expected tonight; various diversions, all of them pleasant, conspired against my planned arrival time, so it was practically dark when I got off the bus. Also, said diversions conspired against me being anywhere near a washroom for rather awhile, and as a result, I really had to pee by that time.

As I was walking (quickly, but trying to minimize the jolts!) down the hill toward home, I noticed an odd glow behind the mountains. It was the moon, still a few minutes from rising, but crazy-bright. Of course, I had to stop and watch it clear the peaks. Casting a long, silver path on the out-going tide in the inlet. It was stunning. And so good to just stop and watch the world. All the traffic funnelling across the bridge, I wonder if any of them noticed. Heavy frost crunching underfoot in the moonlight. It was a perfect moment.

(Except for the having-to-pee thing. Fortunately that was soon resolved!)

Dinner ended up being a toasted bagel with cheddar and sliced tomato. With the odd accompaniment of "Easter Week & After: Songs of the IRA"; Yma Sumac; and the Boney M Christmas Album. Next up on rotation: the Sesame Street Christmas record. Oh my.

I may have to go find some eggnog now, as a vehicle for something more medicinal.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Yes, that's right my friends. Another year gone by, and it's the season we've all been waiting for. Time to cozy up for another chilly Canadian holiday season...bundle up by the fireplace, mugs of eggnog or other festive cheer close at hand, and....

Oh! Oh. You thought I meant Christmas! Silly me. No, no, non. I mean, there is that too. But I'm talking about that uniquely Canuck-ian winter occasion: the official release of next March's Canada Reads book list.

It's something I've followed along with ever since my bookstore days of yore. But I haven't really sat down & read all 5 books or bothered with more than the highlights of the debates since I left the bookstore to move out here 5 years ago. So I'm 'specially excited that some of my yarny pals have jumped on the bandwagon (or let me jump on theirs?) And we're going to book-club it together. (Let's not mention just how long it's been since I've had the fun of a reading group!)

There are many, many reasons why I'm proud to be a Canadian...our stunning natural wilderness; our Women's National Hockey Team (the men do OK, too); Superman; basketball; insulin; Julie Payette; Rick Mercer; the Yarn Harlot; our beer; Marg Delahunty...And right near the top of that list is the notion of making reading a national event. (I believe the actual quote was "literary smack-down.") Complete with celebrity defenders of their favourite titles.

Quite frankly, we rock.

(Though we should probably apologize for Celine Dion and Nickelback. Forgive us?)

Monday, November 30, 2009

November Rain.. gone, for now at least! Both the November part, and the rain. Today started out all drizzly as usual, but by the end of the day, the clouds were gone. The sun, being such a novelty, was positively blinding. The air was all scrubbed clear by a cold wind, clear enough that I could see the details of the struts on a float plane taking off, and the sharp, tiny edges of the treeline along the mountain tops. And then as the sun set, the full moon came out and made the snow on the peaks all glowy and magical...Mmmmm!

As for the November part, I'm having a hard time with the idea that it's December tomorrow. That it'll be a whole 'nother year in a month. Where the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks has my year gone?

The end of November also means the end of NaBloPoMo, and I'm quite proud of myself for sticking it out. I can't say that I feel more brilliant as a blogger/writer...I admit that there was as much (or more) whinging or inanity, or whinging and inanity, as genius insight or wittiness. But you know what? This exercise was great simply as a discipline practice, and every day, I sat down to blog. Whether I felt like it or not. And that feels good. Whether it was good or bad, whether it was easy or tedious, I accomplished what I set out to do: I blogged every day for a month. And if I can do that with blogging, I can do it with other things. I managed another unspoken goal this month, as well, starting about half-way through - every post since Nov.16th has been given a song title. An odd little quirk I sort of fell into, but had fun carrying out.

The NaBloPoMo folks have set a different challenge for December, but I'm up in the air about it. I may take it on in a revised capacity, but I'm going to sleep on it tonight. Meanwhile...I've been puttering about trying to make Christmas cards. Something I used to do every Christmas, but haven't in a couple of years. I found myself missing it, so I stocked up on some crafty supplies and sat down to it this evening. And am decidedly unhappy with the results...Something else I'll sleep on, I imagine! But it was still fun playing with glue sticks and glittery stars. I've put it all away for now, and may or may not come back to it later this week. I have enough to do, really, and am experiencing an increasing need to knit something soft and wispy and lacy for myself. (Why yes, I do have exciting plans for my Christmas break! Pattern suggestions, anyone?)

And that, folks, is all she wrote. For this month, anyway. Perhaps a celebratory nip of something is in order...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Boss(es) of Me

I'd like to say it's been a lazy Sunday, coz it feels that way. But that would be most incorrect. It's been a very busy Sunday, of the best kind. Much crafting for the early part of the day...a couple more gifts taken care of, some of those little piddly finishing tasks finally done. Some headway on Baby Surprise Jacket #2; only a few rows left, and I think I'm going to have to break into a third skein to get to the end (grr!)

Then, an early dinner with Baby Sis & the niblings...We went downtown & met up with Mom, who's back in town for a few more days. It's been awhile since I've had a big fambly dinner, and it was good! We took the kidlets down to the shore for a few minutes, where Mr.Q found them each some shells to take home. At dinner - the Mexican place again - the youngest announced that we all had to speak Spanish, and we should call her by her Spanish name. Which, apparently, is "Princessa." Duly noted!

Walking Mom back to her hotel, the older niece & I "rode horses" down the street. Complete with the "giddy-ups" and "whoas" and calling each other "cowgirl." When my "horse" got tired (being a worn-down old nag!) she let me hold onto her hood and ride with her.

I just know one of my students saw it, and I'll hear about it at school tomorrow. This amuses me greatly. So much so that I think I might be disappointed if it doesn't happen!

Then we listened to They Might Be Giants on the drive home. Quirky, and kind of fun once in awhile! Not a bad way to end the weekend, at any rate...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday Night Special

Dear Diary,

Last night I slept for 10 hours. I woke up super-early, and had hot chocolate and toast for breakfast. Then Mr.Q and I went rambling about town. I can't tell you what for, coz it was Giftmas-related. It rained. We got very wet. We came home, dried off, and I spent the afternoon crafting. Sorry, no pics - again with the Giftmas stuff. (Maybe later, though!) We watched the Dr.Who "Waters of Mars". I'm not sure that I loved it, but hell, I'll take David Tenant while I can get him! Then we watched some of the original "V" mini-series. It was really bad. Or I was too sober. (Or both.) Was hair really that big in the '80s? I seem to have repressed that memory. (Did I ever own a spray can of Aqua Net? I must have, but I can't remember...I have vague recollections of acid-washed stretchy stirrup jeans, though, and a haircut much like Mick Hucknell of Simply Red...It was the '80s, I was not responsible.)

Off to bed momentarily, to cozy up in a freshly-laundered duvet. Lest this be mistaken for housewifely diligence, it should be noted that said laundering was undertaken immediately after an episode of cat vomiting. Good times.

Bonne nuit, then, dear diary. A demain.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Night Fever

For some inexplicable reason, I woke up at about 4:00 this morning...And of course, could not go back to sleep! Which was OK for the first part of the day, as I was a bit giddy from the combination of sleep-deprivation, Friday-ness, and the fact that the sun was out for a change.

About lunchtime, though, I started to crash. By the end of the day, I had had rather a rough landing, and I think I'm fighting a bug now. I hopehopehope the sore throat and achiness are just from being wiped - it's not unusual for me to feel like this if I'm over-tired. I'm going to have to go to sleep pretty quick, though, to set things right again.

I did have a nice surprise in the mail: My latest etsy find, a new home for my new camera. It's a little "prettier" than my usual preference, but lately I really find myself drawn to that chocolate and teal/turquoise colour combination. And more recently, chocolate and pink. How weird is that? At any rate, I'm pleased as punch with the wee gadget bag, not least coz the seller added some extra padding (at no extra cost!) to keep the camera that much safer.

And now I'm going off to bed. Nights!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday or Thursday?

I have been totally confused all week about what day it is. I think it's coz Monday went by so quickly that I barely noticed it happened. So I'm totally discombobulated. Enough that I actually told one class what to work on tomorrow, in case I forgot to show up. They thought I was being funny. Little do they know!

Met Baby Sis and the kidlets after their trip to Science World today. They were totally buzzed (the kids, that is...Baby Sis looked a little frazzled and kind of kept giggling to herself under her breath) and I got the best hugs! I love Auntie time. And they didn't even ask for Mr.Q! (Which is pretty much a first, in 10 years of shared Aunt & Uncle-hood.) We went for hot chocolate at The Bean, and Mr.Q met us there after work. I'm not sure whether the lady at the window was laughing at the girls, or at Mr.Q. They were all 3 pretty entertaining!

And that was totally the highlight of my day today. That, and the fact that it's Friday tomorrow. I'm very excited about Friday tomorrow. Very, very excited!

(A PSA: Regular readers may notice that I have enabled comment moderation on The Blog. I was starting to get a lot of weird spam, not even the how-to-make-your-willie-not-so-wee kind. Thought I'd see if it makes a difference. Here's hoping!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One Long Wednesday

Busy busy day today, but a good one! Starbucks has started selling eggnog lattes, a particular weakness of mine...Given the nutritional value (being....oh,!) I have limited myself to one a week. Wednesday seems as good a day as any to mark with a treat. So I bundled up against the elements (I so heart my Gore Tex jacket!) and hied me to the nearest Starbucks at lunchtime. Though it was a bit of a soggy trip, it was well worth it. I did forget to ask for decaf, however, so I may pay for it come bedtime!

(I might also pay for watching X-Files before bed...oy! Chris Carter came up with some creepy, yucky stuff!)

One oddness the last couple of days is that I seem to have lost (hopefully only temporarily misplaced!) my knitting mojo. I couldn't figure out why I had stalled out, but it came to me as I was falling asleep last night: of the several WIPs I have on the go - most of which are at least sort of on a deadline - all of them are at a place where stitches need picking up.

Guess what my next favourite thing to getting a root canal is?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(But Tuesday's Just as Bad)

Actually, today wasn't bad at all. There was a bit of open sky over the bridge this morning. The rain was lighter. And for some reason, all the Christmas displays and lights stopped being irksome and started to feel charming.

I love Christmas, I do. But it seems like the hype begins earlier and earlier every year. Before Remembrance Day is hopelessly tacky...Before Hallowe'en is just obscene. And I started seeing stuff out after Thanksgiving for Bob's sake! (Please remember, Gentle Readers, that our Canuckian Thanksgiving is the first Monday in October. Far, far too early for Christmas advertising!) So I've been a little Grinchy about it lately. Until today.

I dunno..something about the quality of the morning light just shifted things. It feels like winter, it seems fitting to be thinking about festivities and warmth and garlands and stuffing recipes and whatnot. When I left work and it was almost dark, the white fairy-Christmas lights up along the street looked magical.

I came home & made a ginormous tuna casserole with potato chip crumbs on top...Why did I never know of this? It's so tasty! Perfect on a near-winter evening. I've recently heard that eggnog goes well with bourbon, and I'm about to try that out while I'm feeling all adventurous with the foodstuffs.

Then, I suspect there will be cuddling with the beasties. Though I'm hoping there will be some playing of tunes first...3.5 weeks till Christmas break! Not that I'm counting or anything!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Call It Stormy Monday

Tired of hearing about the craptastic weather here? Me too. Unfortunately, the only change we might see over the next week is possible flurries near the weekend. Which should be an adventure! It was kind of hard to get excited about Monday when Monday looked like this:

I kept hoping I'd wake up and it would look like this instead:

No such luck. But I'll keep dreaming!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday 8 PM

Tired and a bit grumpy tonight...the damp cold is getting at me more than I remember from previous winters. I might have to go see about some super-vitamins or something. In the meantime, to fulfill my NaBloPoMo obligations, here is something considerably warmer and sweeter than I am at the moment - Mr.Q reading Dr.Seuss the other night, to the visiting niblings:

It was a very dramatic reading, and they were quite engrossed in the story. Much quieter - though not nearly as hilarious - as the song the youngest made up that went something like this: "Ribbit, ribbit, fart, fart; I love you with all my heart!"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Go tell it on the mountain!

Bwahahahahahahahah! 24 hours ago, my Baby Sister - who can, by the way, knit - was mocking me for my "obsession." "You're weird," she would say. "I can't believe you do that."

Then, she showed up for a visit yesterday, and I showed her my stash. I told her I could teach her to knit socks while she was here. She said no thanks.

But when she got up she asked how hard it would be to knit baby socks. This morning, we popped into a couple of yarn stores, where I sort of enabled the beginning of her own stash. (Beentsy will be thrilled to hear that she went straight for the Noro.)

This afternoon, she turned her first heel:

This was more of a challenge for her than it might be for others...She's rather an independent spirit, and had a hard time with the "don't ask questions, just do what you're told" aspect of heel-turning. But she did it, and was mighty pleased with herself in the end:

I'd love to tell you more about it, but just now I have to go show her how to graft the toe...

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Few Minutes on Friday

This week has been about 23 days long, I swear. But at last, it is over. And I'm going to kick it to the curb in style: Strongbow in the fridge, beef stew in the slowcooker, and PJs for at least the next 18 hours. Gotta run, time to get cracking on the lazy front!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Outlook for Thursday

So, my baby sister & her two youngest babies are coming to stay with us for a couple days, starting tomorrow, and I realized that there should probably be some kid-friendly food in the house. I mean, I'm OK with tequila and tomato paste, but I'm not so sure how the kids would feel about that.

So I had this brilliant idea that I'd stop on the way home and get groceries. Mr.Q was right on board with that, and agreed that it would be even more brilliant if he intercepted me at the coffee shop & we could walk home together.

Doesn't that sound lovely? All domestic-like, maybe even a little sweet & romantic?

Yeah. Except, there's, like, a typhoon going on. My pants were stuck to my legs by the time we got home. (Thank Bob for the new Gore-tex jacket! I can't believe I waited so many winters to finally get a Real Jacket!) I think even the Cheerios inside their plastic bag inside the box inside the shopping bag got wet.

Blech! Not my finest moment. Nor, though this may be hard to believe, my most attractive. And now Mr.Q is making me listen to the soundtrack to Hair. On vinyl. My brain does not know how to process it all.

Therefore, my brain will have a cup of tea and take itself to bed in short order. And try not to think about the fact that there is a rainfall warning in effect for tomorrow...which is something like the eleventieth day in a row. I expect I'll wake up with webbed feet any day now...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wellington's Wednesday

The computer is being soooooooper-sloooowwwww tonight, so I'm going to move as quick as I can to get today's post in, just in case. In case the power goes out or something, really. Another Big Storm brewing outside, and it's serving up some pretty blustery winds at the moment. (If it was just a leeetle less cold out, I'd want to go play in the wind. I loves me a good windstorm!)

Mr.Q's out to another concert, so kitties and I have the evening to ourselves. I am just about done the toe of my first Blue Brick Wall sock; just about at the weird short rows of another Baby Surprise Jacket; and just about at the heel of another funky STR sock (with a different heel construction than I've used before, so it requires a little one-on-one time to get past that point)...So I'm hoping to get some of these bits & bobs finished up tonight. So I have a few less WIPs cluttering the place up. I think I am seriously running out of unused knitting needles!

And that's all I've got for y'all tonight...Hope you're all warm and dry!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday's Gone

Very little worth mentioning happened today, so here's a picture of the wee little cream "pitcher" that came with Mom's friend's coffee at dinner last night. It's like a little cream-stein. In a Mexican restaurant. It went well with the mariachi-polka music. It was like Oktober-Fiesta!

(Why, yes, I am easily amused...Your point is...?)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Banapple Gas

I am really, really glad I'm not Mr.Q today. I just walked in the door dripping wet - there's actually a puddle where I stood to take my coat off - and that was only from a relatively short time outside getting home. Not working outside in the rain all day.

"Pineapple Express" my ass. With a monniker like that, I expect a fast train to a tropical destination, where there are palm trees and beach volleyball and sexy men in loincloths to bring me drinks with umbrellas.

Instead, the damp-cold has seeped inside to the point where Mr.Q, 2 of the cats & I were snuggled up so tight last night (under 2 quilts) that we barely took up half the bed among us. Sounds cozy, but not actually so conducive to a restful sleep!

Mom's in town again this week for work, this time at a hotel just a few blocks from the school. So we met up this evening for dinner at a very tasty Mexican restaurant...Which managed to push the deluvian weather to the edge of consciousness for a little while! I couldn't help wishing, however, that the sangria was really mulled wine. (I did get some ice cream though! With honey on it. And fresh churros. NOMMERS!) Quite a loverly little outing - thanks Ma!

And on the way to the bus, I ran into an old friend from my university days. I haven't seen him in at least 5 years, maybe more...he looks exactly the same, and hugs just as well as I remember. A serendipitous little moment in the rain!

Off to drink the tea Mr.Q just put down in front of me, then probably off to bed when this record is done (Plastic Ono life is surreal!) We should be somewhat warmer tonight, as I had beans for both lunch and dinner today...Mwahahahahahahah!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2 wrongs...

Woe! Alas and alack! There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth Chez Quimby tonight. For I have discovered unequivocally that two wrongs most definitely don't make a right. The distressing items in question are as follows, in order of significance:

1) There is no ice cream whatsoever in the freezer. None. No matter how often I look to see if some has spontaneously apparated. (Too much Harry Potter?)

2) Even if there was ice cream, it's too damned cold and miserable to eat any without suffering from serious hypothermia.

Again, I say...woe! These two seemingly mutually exclusive wrongs of great wrongness are in no way cancelling each other out. Wah!

Meanwhile....I almost managed an entire weekend without getting out of my PJs (it's good to have goals!) but finally started feeling a little squirrelly about lunchtime. The rain had slacked off, and a friend was picking Mr.Q up for a coffee date, so I got a ride up to the neighbourhood to get a little grocery shopping done.

By the time I finished, it was pouring again...sigh. I sloshed my way up to the bus stop to get home, but the scheduled bus didn't come. I was just about to give in to the elements when Mr.Q called - his friend was driving him home, they were mere blocks from me, did I want a ride?

Ummm...duh! Most serendipitous timing indeed!

It almost makes up for not having any ice cream in the house.

Almost, but not quite.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hootenanny Saturday

The Circle Craft adventure last night was great fun...and a little bit like berry picking: one for Christmas, one for me...One for Christmas, one (or two) for me...and so on! I wish I could show you pictures, but a) I forgot to take any for most of the evening; b) the ones I did try to take of my friend's very sleepy guide dog at the end of the shopping extravaganza are total shite, unfortunately; and c) as I was giftmas shopping, it would probably be a bad idea to post pics anyway! Suffice it to say, it was well worth braving the cold and the crowds to go, and I found some very cool stuff for stockings.

As usual, I enjoyed the company immensely - yay knitters! And at our post-shopping pub visit, I got to sample a couple of the cocktail pitchers that will be on the menu for our Festivus Swap next month. I 'spect we'll have to sample our way down the list that evening. I believe that when the room was booked, they were told that we needed good lighting because we'll be knitting. The poor pub isn't going to know what hit them. This amuses me more than I can say!

Today has been a perfect lazy day, and the evening is shaping up to be more of the same. Mr.Q has just headed out the door to enjoy his Christmas present. As for me, I am going to eat a whole head of roasted garlic, all by myself. I'm very excited about it.

And then, I'll likely eat the whole tube of toothpaste, but it will have been well worth it. The trick will be waiting until it's properly buttery-soft before I take it out of the oven. Because it smells sooooo good, and I want it now!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Playing Doctor

So I had a doctor's appointment today to follow up with the Great Gas Experiment of 2009...Because my doctor works early hours, it meant flying out of work and into a waiting taxi the minute classes finished...Then holding my breath as the taxi driver raced me across town to be at my appointment in 15 minutes. And we got there, relatively safely, only a couple minutes late.

At which time I settled in and waited 50 minutes - yes, that's right, FIFTY - before finally telling the receptionist (nicely, ftr) on my way out that I'd call and reschedule another day.

I'm a little cheesed. See, I have to miss either an afternoon's work - or pay the equivalent in taxi fare - to get to her appointments. And to do all that and not even be able to see her, because Bob forbid I have other commitments and foolishly only allowed myself 45 minutes for the appointment...


Anyway, that's all the time I have to be grumpy about it, since I have to be out the door in 20 minutes to meet my peeps for an annual par-tay that I've been looking forward to for weeks now. It is cold outside today, and I'm awfully glad I've got all manner of hand-knits to keep me warm en route!

(PS - the chicken curry last night was just what the doctor ordered. Well, the doctor in my head anyway. If I waited for the doctor in real life, I'd probably still be waiting for yesterday's breakfast...!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hints (Warning: Ranty Post Ahead!)

*To rush-hour drivers: A red light means "EVERYBODY STOP" - not "Everybody except you, the speshul snowflayke on your cell phone in the SUV, weaving your way in and out of the parking lane at 110 in a 60 zone to get past traffic." In fact, the red light especially applies to you once the walk sign has come on and the pedestrians at the intersection have actually stepped off the curb. Asspickle.

*To students: "I was in the hospital for 2 days" is a reasonable excuse for being absent. I'll even take "I had to take my room-mate to the hospital." Because I also take transit, if you make at least an attempt to sound sincere, I will even pretend to believe you if you tell me your bus "just didn't come." However, "I overslept" and "class is too early, I can't get out of bed" are not acceptable excuses. So when you fail the test you have known about for two frakking weeks, please don't be surprised at my complete lack of sympathy. Dude in the hospital can take a re-test; you cannot.

*To the girls still in their shorts and mini-skirts: The reason you are so cold that your legs are blue is because it is November. In Canada. I know this is Lotus Land and all, but if you'll just take a look around you, you might notice that there is snow on them thar hills. Also? Big winter parkas, UGG boots and short shorts is a far bigger fashion faux pas than my hand-knitted socks-n-'Stocks will ever be.

*Self: put a big dollop of Bailey's in your coffee tomorrow. It's Friday. Live a little. Plus, it might lessen the aggravation of Teh Stoopids.

*Mr.Q: Co-worker got flowers from her fiance delivered to her at the school today. With a little card that said "Just Because." All the women melted. Including me. Just sayin'.

Hoo boy! Little grumpy today. I think some chicken curry might ease things a little. Off to try that particular experiment!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings

We've spent our Remembrance Day holiday having some much-needed down-time. It's cold and threatening-stormy; appropriate weather for the day, I suppose. We didn't go down to the ceremonies today, but did get out for a walk around 11:00. And the reason for the day off was still in mind - reinforced by a few fly-bys overhead:

I wish the picture was clearer, as the planes (some of which Mr.Q identified as Spitfires - I'll just take his word for it!) were brightly painted. A striking contrast against the stormclouds. They - or other planes - flew over a few times. It was pretty neat.

We sat down for a coffee, after picking up a package that was waiting for Mr.Q. A record, of course. (Surprise, surprise!) However, there was something unexpected enclosed: A refund for a shipping overpayment. In a rather unusual form:

Haven't seen one of those bills in quite awhile! I got a few rows on my latest sock done, too. The one I started on Saturday. I had forgotten how quickly a plain vanilla sock can knit up:

Home and tucked in for the late afternoon & evening. Might sit down for some old-school Dr.Who before Mr.Q heads out for rehearsal. Kind of looking forward to a quiet evening solo. I 'spect some tomato soup and grilled cheese are in the immediate dinner forecast as well....It'll go well with the Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme currently on rotation...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A party in my mouth!

We had the nommiest supper tonight, and I thought it would do nicely for today's post:

The recipe is incredibly complex and detailed, so please take careful notes:

Take a large yam & chop it into 1-inch pieces. Toss in a baking dish with some olive oil, a little salt & pepper, and several whole cloves of peeled garlic. Roast until it's all soft.

Meanwhile, dice a small onion and saute in olive oil till soft. Add a can of black beans (drained & rinsed), a dollop of tomato paste, some cumin, and maybe a hint of ginger or chili powder. Fry it all up, stirring often and mashing the beans as you go.

When the yams & garlic are done, cream them until at least sort of well-blended.

Spoon beans & yams into slightly-warmed soft tortillas and accessorize as you please. We had cheddar, sour cream, and some diced tomatoes & mangoes that I was going to salsa-ize with some cilantro and a bit of chili, but in the end I decided to leave them au naturel. It was the right choice - the mango perfectly set off the sweetness of the roasted garlic yams.

The beauty of this concoction is that it's super-easy to adapt for vegans and meat-i-vores alike (it would be scrumptious with some shredded chicken!) It's hearty and filling without feeling all heavy and sluggish after. Nom!

Feeling pleasantly satisfied now (though with some wicked garlic breath!) and thinking it's time to settle in with some knitting and X-Files. And maybe a cat or two.

Happy mini-Friday!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Having a gas!

(Subtitled: In which it is revealed that the author's alter-ego is a 12-year-old boy)

(Content Advisory: May contain Too Much Information)

So I have finally accomplished the near impossible, and - thanks to a knitter! - found myself a Real Doctor. One who is at a Real Clinic, not a walk-in; who is taking new patients; and who works in my neighbourhood. Even better, it's a woman, and she actually listens to what I say, and explains things, and answers my questions without condescension. Rock on!

So I went for my physical last month (whee!) (not) and while I was there, I asked her about this persistent little cough I've had for aeons. And she agreed to help me pinpoint the cause. Yay! Coz it's really a pain in the butt. It's not in any way related to a cold or flu or other respiratory illness; there are no indications at all that it could be asthma or something similar. I've had x-rays done, and there are no signs at all of anything odd in my lungs - no scar tissue or tumours or tadpoles...It's quite the mystery. I'm not worried about it at all, mostly just curious and a teensy bit annoyed. Since laughing too hard can set me off, and in the current hamthrax climate, coughing in public could easily lead to being lynched.

The doctor thinks the most likely culprits are either allergies (which I think is probably the case) or acid reflux. Since acid reflux is easier to rule out, she's decided we should try that one first. Pretty painless - just take a pill every morning for 2 weeks and see if it makes a difference. She sent me off with some free samples (I love being Canadian!) and told me to come back in 2 weeks.

So, I have been diligently waking up with Mr.Q every morning, taking one teeny pill, and going back to sleep (it has to be on an empty stomach, and there's no way I can wait a half-hour for coffee once I'm out of bed!) And you know what? It has made a difference. A big one.

Only, not for the cough. There have been some interesting side effects that were not listed on the insert along with the blindness and hairy palms...(or wait - were those for the other thing?) It seems I have developed chronic - nay, perpetual - gas. If I were a dog, I'd have to change my name to Walter. Fortunately, unlike Walter, my bark is worse than my bite...Unfortunately, it's the opposite of the dreaded "silent-but-deadly" phenomenon. Not stinky at all, but loud like an out-of-tune trombone. And it's really embarrassing. (Though not so much that I won't put it out on the innernets for all the world to read...)

It's also really, reall funny when it startles Mr.Q and all 3 of the cats awake. And I think it may open up a whole new chapter in musical expression.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Today is a good day....

Today is a good day for....
  • staying in PJs all day
  • having spicy hot chocolate for breakfast
  • catching up on Mount Laundry
  • baking cookies (oatmeal-coconut-apricot)
  • putting all 4 of my Iron & Wine CDs on random
  • knitting (duh!)
  • watching X-Files
  • listening to a fantabulous Gram Parsons tribute album
  • posting gratuitous cute beastie pics:

How's your Sunday?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Under the Wire

Sneaking this post in with a mere 15 minutes till midnight...Just got in from a girls' night - Bollywood movies & Indian potluck. Very fun! I didn't take any pics, but I did get a good chunk done on a Plain Vanilla sock. I needed a plain, easy, socializing-safe project, since everything I've got on the go right now requires reading patterns, thinking, and perhaps even counting. Not so good for environments with distractions! So I figured it was time to cast on a plain old basic sock. I'm doing it in BMFA's "Blue Brick Wall" colourway, inspired by a wall somewhere in Madras. I figured it was appropriate for the evening's theme! (My skein has less white and more green & gold than shown on the website, for the record.)

Mkay! Off to make some tea & go to bed...though it's beyond me why I'm so tired after sleeping in this morning and then having an hour-long nap this afternoon (the deep, solid kind of nap that leaves you totally disoriented when you wake up, and foggy for hours after...I blame the cats!)

9 minutes to go - time to hit "publish" - 'night, all!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Why Today Rocks

Aside from the fact that it's Friday & I have a Bollywood movie night to look forward to this weekend...Mr.Q brought me home a wee bottle of Van Gogh Espresso Vodka. Apparently it's divine in hot chocolate. I look forward to testing that theory for myself!

TGIF indeed!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Packrat Advice, Plz

Sometimes, life hands you a gift, and you discover a secret ingredient you didn't even know was missing till you tried it. You read an article in a magazine and realize that you had never thought of adding cinnamon-ginger-bourbon-soya sauce-monkeybrains to your favourite recipe. You try it, and voila! The pinnacle of perfection.

Sometimes, you get the brainwave all by yourself. You're brushing your teeth one morning, or maybe you even have a dream and you wake up thinking: "Hey! You know what? I bet my favourite recipe would be brilliant with just a dash of cinnamon-ginger-bourbon-soya sauce-monkeybrains!" And you give it a whirl, and voila! The Iron Chef is trembling at the mightiness of you.

Or maybe that song would be perfect with just a hint of violin. Or that poem would leave Shakespeare in the dust with just that one comma. And so on.

And then there are the days when you wake up and something is missing from your life, and you have no idea...But you go about your day in blissful ignorance, and the world turns on its axis all the same. And then somebody brings home that missing something, and you know what? You still really don't need it. Nope. You really don't, not one bit.

Like, for example...Oh, I don't know. For the sake of illustration, let's say this hypothetical something - this thing that you didn't know you needed this morning, and now that it's leaning up against your kitchen wall, you still don't really need it - let's say this item is, for example...A broadsword.

Like this one:


Nope. You know what? I still don't need one!

And now that I have one, I can say that with complete and utter confidence.

Sadly, I don't think it's going anywhere.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dear Santa...

I know it's still kind of early to be thinking about Christmas, but when you're shopping for a Sci Fi geek who has everything, it's important to plan ahead in order to score the perfect gift.

And Santa, if you're listening...I've been a pretty good girl this year. I usually remember to say "please" and "thank you." I've tried to hold off on tormenting small furry woodland creatures, and inappropriate wet T-shirt parties. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to present for your consideration, the Toaster Toaster.

Pretty please?

With sprinkles on top?

I'll even scoop the reindeer poop....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This is me with my handbasket

I can already see how this is going to go. I'm just settling down to some knitting after finishing the supper dishes, looking forward to going to bed soon...And "Shit! I have to blog! I almost forgot!"

I have nothing to tell you, really. There is a fresh round of Strongbow in my fridge, and this makes me ridiculously happy. My sister & her husband dropped Mom off at our place today, and they cooked us dinner. So nice to come home to someone else cooking! Though it does mean I have to wash dishes. Poop.

Here is a picture of a coffee that was marvelous while it lasted, and that I dearly wish I could have right this moment. Since it's almost bedtime, that's probabl
y not the best idea. But still: want (eleventy)!


Monday, November 2, 2009

All Hail the Boomtown Rats

Day 2, and I'm still here blogging away! On our own computer, even, which came back from the "doctor" yesterday. And wasn't nearly as expensive as I'd feared, though apparently it was quite a mess. Hooray for tech-head friends!

A couple pics....From Hallowe'en as a Cereal Killer (not at my most fetching, I must say!):

This was the get-up that almost made one of my students cry. My back was to the door when she came into class late. I turned around and gave her The Look. She shrieked (loudly) and almost burst into tears. I can laugh about it because a) she's in her 20s, not some adorable little kindergartener; b) she laughed about it, too; and c) she's been chronically late, so it serves her right. And I bet she'll be a lot better about being on time now!

Apparently I looked a lot creepier than I'd intended...I suppose the blank stare while licking the cereal boxes from time to time was more effective than I realized.

Playing with the new camera & the first frost of the season:

And why November on the coast makes living here totally worth it:

Note the sandals, hmm? (Yes, with socks - suck it up if you have a problem with it! I'm still wearing sandals in November. Hah!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The sum of my addictions

Having been rather sparse with the posts over the last few months (in case you hadn't noticed) I seem to have signed myself up for NaBloPoMo this month. I guess the idea of trying to get at least a token post up every day will be good discipline, and maybe get me back into the habit. Also, I have whacks of WIPs to tell you about, and I've been having fun familiarizing myself with my new camera.

Of course, I can't show you any of those pictures just now...Nor am I entirely certain that I'll have regular access to a computer for the next few days. Our computer got the cyber-version of hamthrax, and is currently in critical condition at the "doctor's." Given that he thought we might have it back on Friday, and we haven`t heard from him yet...well, let's just say I'm getting a little concerned! Not to mention going squirrelly. I miss checking in with Ravelry & my bloggy pals. And I really miss my Doctor Who! Somewhat unexpectedly, I am having a harder time sans ordinateur than Mr.Q, our resident cyber-junkie.

My dear darling mother, though, bless her heart, is in town for a few days, with her shiny new netbook. Which she is very generously sharing with us. There are many reasons why my mother rocks; today, this is at the top of the list!

It has been interesting to note just how much housework, seaming, and weaving in of ends all get finished without the distraction of a computer...even our floors have been washed.

So, here I am, jumping on another bandwagon. Look for pictures soon, I hope. Including my Hallowe'en get-up, which left one of my students almost in tears. A roaring success, I'd say!

Happy November! Hope y'all enjoyed the extra hour of sleep!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The end of an era...

So my birthday's tomorrow, and it's got me a little weirded out. Not all angsty like my 25th did ("OMG will I have to act like an adult now?" Thank FSM I got over that idea!) But still, I'm officially entering my Late Thirties, and it does give one pause. Mr.Q seems to think that I'm on the brink of an existential crisis, however, so he's been rather spoiling me for the last week or so.

We went to see John Prine in concert on Friday, which was amazing! His opening act was good, and he...was magical. His energy never let up, and he played for over 2 hours straight - with the biggest, shit-eatingest, ear-to-ear grin on his face for every minute of it. There's something awfully cool about watching somebody who's having that much fun on stage! And he was quite the gentleman - humble, not ego-centric at all - and bloody hilarious. It was (though I hate to say it!) even worth being gouged in service charges.

On the way home from Seattle last weekend, we had discussed the possibility of getting me a new camera for my birthday. I did a little research during the week, and on Saturday, we went out and found a wee (blue!) Sony Cyber-shot that I've been having too much fun with ever since.

Some of my first experiments...

Obligatory cat shot:

Playing with the automatic "Smile Shutter"

More of the tremendously energetic felines (and husband):


And - if I wasn't spoiled enough - Mr.Q gave me these over the weekend, too.

To top things off - I had taken tomorrow off of work, for a day of decadent self-indulgence (which means sleeping in till at least seven o'clock!)...but on the way to work today, I got a call that a water cooler on the top floor had burst, and flooded everything the school was closed for the day. Surprise 4-day weekend!

So I'm back home in my fuzzy robe, figuring out how to download pics from the camera, updating Ravelry pages, and considering an afternoon of knitting & people-watching at the coffee shop. Though the cats may have the right idea....Guess what they're doing?

(Hint: if your guess involves any kind of activity, you're way off base...)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All Aboard!

A late, quick photo-essay of our Thanksgiving weekend train adventure to Seattle...

An early (early!) start:

Each of us doing what we love best (and Mr.Q quite tickled that he could buy a beer before 9:00 a.m.)

Travel Scrabble - Mr.Q's creative use of language not at all related to the pre-9:00 a.m. beer:
Playing tourist...At the Science Fiction Museum (very cool, but not nearly enough Star Wars, and sadly lacking in Dr.Who, Battlestar Galactica, and Firefly)

The Experience Music Project - we both felt it was kind of "meh", but there was a theramin we got to play with. And an upright bass in a giant instrument tree:

Up the Space Needle:

Night view, walking back to the hotel from dinner:

Pike Place in the morning (started my Christmas shopping...too early?)

Finally found a decent cup of coffee, which was surprisingly hard to do in a city that prides itself so much on its java...Uptown Espresso, where I enjoyed a fabulous Caffe Vienna & knat while Mr.Q found (another) record store:

Finally on the way home amused me to watch the engine pulling the train around the corners...
Missed having turkey but might just cook one up this weekend. The tuna casserole we had on Monday just didn't cut it. I need a pumpkin pie, too.

(And - my, but we do live in a beautiful corner of the world! Nice to see a little more of it!)