Sunday, April 26, 2009

I want to break free! *

I needed to get out of the house yesterday. Mr.Q had a practice in the morning, and it seemed like a good opportunity for a little solo time. I was a little stumped for ideas, though, not to mention motivation. So, I opted for my usual “go-to” plan, and packed up some knitting, and a letter I’ve been meaning to write for a month, and headed out for the neighbourhood coffee shop. I was going to sit myself down for at least half-an-hour, dammit, and have a date with myself, whether I liked it or not!

I got as far as the end of the block, and kind of stalled. I didn’t want to go to the Bean. I didn’t want to sit that close to Hastings Street and the traffic and the noise. Not to mention the crowds – on a sunny Saturday, I probably wouldn’t even be able to get a seat. But mostly, I just couldn’t muster the energy to take the same walk down the same streets again. My back was tight; my feet were uncomfortable, all tightly-laced into my walking shoes. And I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere that would require taking public transit.

But, I also didn’t want to turn around and go back inside.

Then I got my answer. As I was standing, stumped, at the corner, a couple of gulls came skreeling overhead. (I love that verb, skreel. So evocative. Onomatopoetic. Applicable only to gulls and bagpipes, which gives it a particularly romantic, misty, moory, maritime, Gaelic-y kind of resonance. Me, wrapped in a shawl, wandering a moonlit shoreline...)

Listening to the gulls, I found myself walking in the opposite direction, almost without conscious decision. My feet knew where I wanted to be, if my brain couldn’t make up its damned mind.

By the water. The thing I love best about this place. I needed a dose of the ocean. So I made my way down the street to one of the many mini-parks that dot the “waterfront” in our neighbourhood. (The neighbourhood being separated from the shoreline by the railway and the docks) I had the camera with me, and tried a few pictures of the cherry blossoms and the tulips. I just started wandering west…the northern-most street in our neighbourhood follows the waterfront, and is punctuated by a number of these mini-parks. Small flower beds tended by the residents, cherry trees, benches overlooking the harbour. I made my way from one to the next, almost without thinking about it.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that what I really wanted (needed!) was just to move. To walk and feel my body in motion, with no destination, no goal to distract me. To just be, in my body, in the sunshine, smelling the blossoms, without my brain being all incessantly “pick a little, talk a little, cheep cheep cheep”. Blah blah blah.

I did end up at a coffee shop, one quite a bit further away than I’d intended. By the time I got there, my legs were a bit tired, but the stiffness in my lower back was long gone. On the way, I watched a tugboat at work, and some people working on a fishing boat tied up to the dock. I walked by a group of people digging up a community garden for spring planting. I noticed that the cherry blossoms were almost finished, and the apples were starting to bloom. And the chestnuts were putting out leaves that will soon be a canopy over all the side streets.

And my brain finally shut up!

It was a good morning.

(*thanks, beentsy, for suggesting today's title! The prize for guessing yesterday's goes to yarnpiggy.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I've got to...get away *

Somehow the week felt very, very long. Not bad, just long. (Maybe not so surprising, after 2 short weeks separated by a four-day weekend!) There had been talk of a night in, all cozy with cats and scrambled eggs for supper, and some Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But as I was walking home from the bus, I found myself getting pretty antsy at the idea of wasting the remaining daylight hours in the "cave." (Yes, there are days I don't like living in a basement suite!)

So I called Mr.Q, who was having beers with his classmates after their long week, and asked him how quickly he could get his arse home, in order to take me out for dinner. There haven't been a lot of date nights over the last month, with his homework load. (Oh, and that whole not-working thing that happens when one's in school!)

Also, I was feeling somewhat celebratory, as the weather is finally Really Spring. There's a huge Oregon grape shrub near the house that's in blossom, and it smells amazing. There are more and more birds out every day. It's finally warm enough to have Nekkid Toes - toes which I have even prettified with pink polish, in anticipation; and last night, they were just busting to be free. I thought I ought to take them out. Also, yesterday was a Good Mail Day. As evidenced below:

Yessiree, that there is my shiny new passport, accompanied by my shiny new (reloadable) Visa card, all ready for the Sock Summit in August. Which paired nicely with the mail from the day before:

A super-soft, brand new Ravelry hoodie. Looks great with my Rav tote. And worn together (does one "wear" a tote?) they kind of remind me of my university days, when I would trek off to school in my MEC pants and my MEC fleece, with my MEC backpack, and totally feel like one of the cool kids. So the hoodie-tote combo makes me feel young again!

Anyhoo. The new hoodie was just warm enough to balance the naked feets on our dinner outing...that sunshine being more "wishful thinking" spring weather, than actual warmth. We went to WaaZuBee, one of our favourite haunts. Great burgers, and a gin list. Being a gin-n-tonic kind of gal, this is a huge selling point for me! I tried the Juniper Organic last night...most tasty! Mr.Q had himself a pint of Crannog pale ale (also organic, ftr), and enjoyed it thoroughly. In fact, we were both so pleased that we indulged in a little spontaneous public display of "fisting" (recreated here for the photo)

(And no, I don't think the "fisting" joke is ever going to get old for me!)

Dinner, as usual, was great:

That there is my bison burger, with blue cheese, and signature WaaZuBee fries with garlic mayo dip. I believe Mr.Q had the chicken sandwich - with melted Brie and mushrooms.

An early night last night, a good long sleep, and I'm ready to take on the weekend. A few chores, some knitting, maybe a coffee date-with-self while Mr.Q's out at a rehearsal this morning. Bowling tomorrow for a friend's birthday. A world of possibility stretching out before me!

I think I might start with a nap.

(*Bonus points for the first person to correctly identify the source of the title!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cabbages and Kings. (Or at least, pasghetti and Mr.Darcy)

I dunno what the deal is with the not-posting. I mean, I go through my day composing brilliant posts with witty titles, and then I don't sit down at the computer till waaaaaayyy later, and by then, the clever titles are gone, and the posts are out-dated.

Oh well. So you're going to get a week's worth of highlights at once. Here you go...

I had a craving for beef goulash last week (as in, a PMS-inspired need to take a bite out of a cow's arse right now, me want red meat now!) So on Monday night, I pulled out the slow cooker, opened a bottle of wine, and went to work. Equal weights of onion and browned stewing beef, a whack of paprika, some tomato paste, and a good dollop of red wine. I started photographing the process:

And then the wine kicked in, so that's all I got. (That was only about 2/3 of the onion, too.) Turned on the slow cooker the next morning before work, let it all simmer and stew for hours, came home to a most delicious smell. I had a crusty Italian loaf that I transmogrified into garlic bread - soooo good! Except..well...while the bread was in the oven, I thought I'd try the goulash. Tried a piece of the meat...mmmmm! Fell apart on my fork. I dipped a bread crust into the sauce - and burned the shite out of the roof of my mouth. (This was on Tuesday. Which is relevant later. There may be a quiz.)

Dinner was quite tasty, if I do say so myself. And if a bit painful. But well worth it.

The rest of the week was rather a blur - yay for short weeks after 4-day weekends! Besides, it's the weekend that's really important here. In particular, Saturday. BBC Pride and Prejudice marathon, with potluck dinner and knitters. And gin. Could it get much more fun? I think not! Our lovely hostess Kyrsten cooked up a veritable vat of veggie spaghetti sauce; there was artichoke dip and spinach salad. And home-made foccaccia bread that was to die for.

Also, it was very crusty. And scrape-y on the roof of my mouth. Which I noticed was still quite sore, 4 days after the original injury. But in no way did it impede my enjoyment of dinner.

There was much heady discussion, about such intellectual and earth-shifting matters as whether Mr.Darcy was sexier in the blousy shirt, all sweaty from fencing; or in the blousy shirt, all dripping from his impromptu bathe.

(Me, I vote for the fencing scene. I guess I just like a man who can handle his sword.)

(Think there's something Freudian in that?)


(Best line of the night, without question, goes to Damselfly, who suggested that the best sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is not, in fact, P & P & Robots, but "Pride and Predator." I'm still snorting about that one!)

Also, there was dessert. In fact, there were two of them. One, I brought - strawberry chocolate mousse cake:

Very, very rich. And right tasty. Yarnpiggy also brought a most scrumptious crisp, with berries and mangoes, topped off with coconut-milk ice cream. Alas, I took no photos of that tasty treat, but after the richness of the chocolate, the fruit was most refreshing.

All in all, a fabulous evening!

Then, I woke up in the middle of the night coz my mouth was so sore. Not so fabulous. I remembered a co-worker at a restaurant I worked at in college - she was testing a batch of soup, and bit into a piece of potato with a pocket of super-hot water inside. Burned herself really badly, and it got infected.

Not wanting to experience this particular joy (and, being concerned that it was already the case), I got up early-ish on Sunday to go to the nearest walk-in clinic for a look-see. Mr.Q offered to come with and keep me company. So, off we went. I got in right away (the experience with the doctor and the whole ninety seconds he spent with me is a rant for another time) A brief look inside my mouth, and he declared it "red, but not infected." He gave me a prescription for some anaesthetic goop, told me to avoid hot foods (like I hadn't figured that out all on my own!) and sent me on my way.

(Did I mention the whole ninety second thing?) But, I was too relieved to be spared an infection to fuss much. We were waiting for the bus home, when my phone rang. Weird, since the only people who usually call me (especially before noon on a Sunday) are Mr.Q, who was standing right next to me; and my sister, with whom I had just spoken a few minutes earlier.

It was my Dad, wanting to know what the emergency was. I was more than a little confused...what emergency? Huh? What's going on? I soon figured out that Mr.Q had posted a Facebook status update about taking me to the clinic. So kind of my parents to check in on me! But hardly a critical emergency.

Then, we got home. Where I discovered that Mr.Q had posted to the effect of "Taking Mrs.Q to the emergency clinic for burn treatment." Which set off a flurry of panicked responses by friends, family, and passing acquaintances. Go figure.

He didn't get it: "But it's true!"

Yeah, OK pal. We did go to the walk-in clinic, because I had burned my mouth. But when you put it like that, it sounds like the stove blew up on me, or I had an accident in my fire-breathing class or something!

So I spent a good part of Sunday afternoon sending out messages, reassuring people that I was, in fact, just fine. And planning meals of soft, room-temperature, non-citrusy foods.

The goop is the same stuff that the dentist applies before giving Novocaine shots. So the association is more fun than I can handle. Not. Also, I'm kind of sick of pudding and applesauce. And would really like a cup of hot coffee. But I tried pizza for supper tonight (a surprisingly good organic thin-crust frozen pizza - will definitely buy when it's on sale again!) Not the brightest idea. Back to the goop and yoghurt for couple days yet, at least! Woot.

And that's all she wrote. For today, at least. (Cell phone pics from the bus of the 4/20 rally at the Art Gallery yesterday didn't turn out, and I didn't go, so I'd feel funny posting about it. Though I do wonder if the whiff I got through the open bus window, and subsequent purchasing of Ruffles All-Dressed chips, are in any way related. Sweet FSM, I do love this city some days!)

OK, really going now. I'll leave you with gratuitous fuzzy cute-ness:


Monday, April 13, 2009

Things that make me go mmmmmm!

These things have made me happy today, at the end of a (much-needed and much-enjoyed!) four-day weekend:

*Waking up to clean floors! (No fairies, unfortunately; rather, there was a lot of work done yesterday. And the day before. But they're still so shiny and clean!)

*The sun was out when we walked up to the neighbourhood for groceries this morning

*Watching a crow fly by with two foil-wrapped chocolate Easter eggs in its mouth - Shiny! Craawk!

*Booking my ticket home for "spring break" at the end of May

*Getting an email that my Rav order was shipped out today

*Drinking the season's first iced mocha while we did the shopping

*Lunch: toasted bacon-cheddar-&-tomato sandwiches, with a dusting of sea salt and real mayo (All or nothing for me, baby. All or nothing. Go real or go home. Etc.)

*Cooking up an enormous vat of very tasty veggie pasta sauce for dinners this week

*And, last but not least, this:

Hope your Monday's been good to you, too!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Just a little whimsical in the brainpan

It was pointed out to me by Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless* that lately, my blog posts have mostly been about why I've been too busy to post. Thought I'd try to make up for that a little tonight. Though, to be fair, things have been unusually busy around the Quimby household of late.

Mr.Q has officially started his first-year carpentry apprenticeship classes, and is doing swimmingly well. (I'm not at all surprised. But he's had a bit of anxiety about the math bits. However, he seems to be kicking tangential arse. Again with the not-so-surprising.) He got to put his skills to work on the weekend, helping Little Sister and her husband put new laminate flooring down. He looks so cute with a tape measure!

It was a great way to spend a Saturday, coz mostly the guys just bonded over the power tools, while Sis & I watched a marathon of RuPaul's Drag Race. The swimsuit competition was something to behold. We just had to come out and hold things from time to time. (With the flooring, not the swimsuits!) And we watched them on the deck with the saw. I swear, there was fondling of the power tools at one point. It was quite an entertaining afternoon! Then they took us for Mexican before we went home. Mmmmm!

Yesterday was finally spring-y, sunny weather, warm enough for shirt-sleeves only...hooray! Which means it's finally shawl weather, for really and for true. I got a better pic of the Waves stole in the sunshine the other day:

The weight of it is just perfect for this weather. I may have to turn the rest of my Malabrigo sock yarn into lacy stole-type things. In other knitting news, I've booked my hotel room & found a room-mate for the Sock Summit in August...much squeeing has ensued, both in and outside my head. One of the tasks I've been working on is finally applying for a passport, so I can get across the border for the Summit.

Holy nit-picky, batman! (Is it bad that I typed that first as knit-picky?) Anyway, I finally got all the pieces and papers and photos and signatures together, and took it all down to the passport office today. Where I had to line up at one office to get a number, which I then took to another office - across the building, one floor up - where I had to wait to file my application.

Is it just me, or is that, like, a major DUH? My tax dollars at their most efficient, no doubt.

At any rate, it's done. Thankfully, I had my knitting in the waiting room. It struck me as poetic that I was knitting a sock, while waiting to get my passport so I could go learn more about knitting socks.

Proof that the sock and I survived the ordeal, and emerged while the sun was still out:

Work today was interesting on a couple of fronts. There was Easter egg decorating at lunch today for the students. One of mine came to class late, coz he was trying to get all the dye off his hands. He was quite tickled about the whole experience. Which amused me, as he's from Saudi Arabia. And I am more than a little entertained at the notion of a Muslim man creating a Pagan symbol of a Christian holiday...maybe there's hope for the world yet!

Same class, playing "Alibi" - 3 players are suspects in a bank robbery. They are interviewed by separate teams of interrogators, who try to trip them up with tricksy questions. The alibi: the 3 were at a movie. One of the questions that the "police" came up with: "What size Coke did you get?"

Except, well, one of the "cops" mis-pronounced "Coke," and asked the student what size cock she had.

And then I had to explain it to the students who didn't get it.

And then one of the guys answered the question.

I do believe I blushed! More than once. (And then taught them the expression "one size fits all") Never a dull moment, that's for sure!

(*Hi Dad!)