Sunday, August 30, 2009

The people in your neighbourhood

Right after posting yesterday, I realized we had no cream or milk in the house, which meant no leisurely coffee before heading out the door. Instead, I woke Mr.Q up from his post-show coma, and we made a mad dash to the coffee shop in order to fortify ourselves for the morning at hand.

The coffee shop, fortunately, is only a block or so from the credit union...and just a few doors up from the new yarn store. Since our morning schedule had been thrown out of whack by the lack of at-home caffeination, a brief strategy session was held over our coffees. It didn't take long to arrive at the best solution: Mr.Q would deal with the banking on his own, leaving me free to check out Baaad Anna's.

Anna and the friend she had working with her (name forgotten! So sorry!) were warm and welcoming. The shop is wee, and some stock has yet to arrive...but it felt delightfully cozy already. It helped that Anna's family had come all the way from Calgary to be here for the opening, and they were quite busy stocking a table in the back with coffee and treats, running errands, and smiling at all and sundry. Definitely a good, friendly feeling!

I was quite restrained in my purchases, walking out with only 2 skeins of sock yarn:

The pink is "Orchid" and the blue is "Ocean Cove", both from Unwind Yarns, a young local dyer. I love the way she plays with colour...even pink!

I couldn't resist one other purchase, though, my first for Sis's November Nibling:

How cute is that?!

Then, tired from our exertions, Mr.Q (who had finished at the bank and was waiting patiently at the library across the street) made our way home, with the intention of going back to bed for a bit. Except that a certain Piggy called when we were about half a block away from our door, to tell me she & some pals were just heading over to Baaad Anna's, and did I want to come with?

Well...the arm-twisting wasn't really all that severe. She picked me up about 20 minutes later, and I went back for seconds. This time, the place was quite busy, including a group of 6 or 8 fellow Ravellers all stitching and bitching on the couch and chairs in the front window. Perfect! And a preview, I hope, for later expeditions.

Some yarn sort of came home with me out of that trip, as well...Some Yummy sock yarn, by Fibra Natura - I think in the "Grey Dawn" colourway:

The light outside this morning was not as clear as I'd hoped, so the colours are really not well-represented. Especially with regard to my last purchase, two skeins of Malabrigo lace in the "Azul Bolita" colourway (colour #80, about halfway down the page).

Because really, this stuff is electric-cobalt blue. Like someone irradiated Cookie Monster, sheared him, and made yarn out of his fur. It kind of jumps out at you and shouts "HI! I'm blue! Can you see me? I'm blue! I'M REALLY REALLY BLUE!"

(I'm pretty sure no muppets were harmed in the manufacture of this yarn.)

Then, we all went for coffee to re-fuel after the excitement. Good times! The Laughing Bean is a great, very knit-friendly little spot, and we're reconvening there today for our usual Sunday gathering.

And maybe we'll poke our heads in to Anna's and see how things went yesterday. You know, just to be neighbourly.

Off to make some breakfast, and maybe another cuppa. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a pic of Singe, who was busy supervising this morning's photography session in the back yard. (I just typed "back yarn." Knit much?) Such a helpful puss!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

All's well that ends well.

Haven't wanted to post of the last week's excitement until it was all over, and thanks to a phone call late yesterday afternoon, it will all be put to bed this morning. Very shortly. After coffee.

Last Friday, Mr.Q decided to take me out to dinner, no arguing allowed, and of course I didn't. We had a lovely meal, he went off to a practice and I went home for an evening of Dr.Who. I had meant to ask him which account he paid for dinner out of, but forgot. So when I got up Saturday morning, I went online to find out.

And discovered that someone had accessed our checking account overnight, making a "deposit" (hello, empty envelope!) and several withdrawls. To the tune of...well, just about everything we had in that account, plus a little. Good times!

Of course, I called and cancelled our debit cards right away, and we went down to the nearest branch as soon as it opened to get stuff sorted out. Except they couldn't "sort it out" immediately. Due to the nature of the incident, it was considered "unconfirmed skimming." Which meant that they had to do an investigation before they could decide whether we'd get our money back. Which could take a couple days or a couple weeks, they couldn't really say, and by the way they couldn't even start till Monday when the security office opened.

Again with the good times. So most of the week was spent playing phone tag with various people and hoping it would get sorted out before rent on the 1st. In the meantime, that "deposit" was adjusted for the empty envelope, leaving us rather in the red. There was indeed cursing and swearing. There may even have been some gnashing of teeth. And a lot of peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.

Until yesterday, when we got the call that they'd figured out what happened (we'll probably never know, I guess they don't like to tell people that kind of info, lest it give them ideas) So we have to go down to the branch today, fill out some forms, and the money will be magicked back into our account.


And WHEW! again.

I have to say, while the whole process was frustrating as all hell - and a little nerve-wracking - the credit union was pretty good about communicating what was going on, following up with us about questions, actually returning phone calls in a timely fashion. So we felt like we were in good hands. Still...not the most fun week ever!

But a happy ending, thankfully, and perfectly timed. And not just for that whole pesky rent thing. Being a strong supporter of local businesses, I will be doing my civic duty this morning by attending the opening of a new store in our neighbourhood. Almost right across the street from the credit union, in fact. Which means that, just as soon as our account is put to rights, I can go here and get myself a feel-better present.

I am in So. Much. Trouble.

And it's going to be so much fun!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Learn something new every day

I can't think of anything clever to say about this - I'm laughing too hard to be coherent.

Bob I love this site! But then, perhaps I'm just an immodest sister of the lamb.

The latest exciting news...!

Toasted bacon-cheddar-tomato sammiches for supper tonight. With real mayonnaise, for the win!

That is all. As you were.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In which Monday's child is totally sleep-deprived, and hates airports.

Monday, Annimol left early, and I had a few hours to myself before I had to head to the airport. I thought I'd try to sleep in, but that totally didn't happen. Instead, I took myself out for breakfast to a wee bistro I'd been eyeing during the Summit. (There was coffee in a real mug! Not a paper take-out cup!) I was wearing my SS09 T-shirt, and while I was waiting for my food, a woman (I think she was the owner) came over and asked me about it. She had just read something in the morning paper, and thought the whole thing was pretty cool. When I said I hadn't seen the paper, she went outside and bought one for me. I read it over breakfast, squee-d a bit more (and, if I'm honest, got a little teary over my eggs and bacon.)

I needed a bit of cheering up, so I gave myself permission to do something I'd been putting off up to now (mostly because I wasn't sure I'd have room in my suitcase!) I went to Powells.

It was everything I'd expected, and more. Very, very cool! I was very restrained. I walked out with only 3 books, one for Mr.Q. And I found proof that he & I should never visit Portland together. From where I took the bookstore shot above, if I turned around 180 degrees, I saw this:

Trouble, indeed!

By this point, I was fading again, and it was close enough to check-out time that I headed back to the hotel, got my suitcase, and got on the train to the airport.

I didn't know this until Monday morning, but apparently United Airlines handles Air Canada travellers at PDX. United sucks. They suck big, smelly, goat testicles. On a good day. Trying to check in was so incredibly frustrating, especially in contrast to the Summit. (I'm sure the exhaustion didn't help, either!)

Happily for both of us, I think, GlennaC was in line a ways behind I got to book-end my trip with a new friend who makes a pretty fantastic airport buddy. There was time to have a last lunch together, before getting on our respective flights...

And now...I'm less bitter about being home than I'd expected I'd be. Though I'm incessantly stalking new posts on the SS09 Rav group. And I seem to have put my name on mailing lists for a half-dozen fibre fests and retreats next year....I think (and Mr.Q, bless him, has the good sense to agree!) that I may have to do a knitting-related trip once a year. Connect with my peeps, learn some new tricks. Gather with the tribe. Geek out. And make pretty things with pretty string.

Sunday's child desperately needs a nap, but is unlikely to get one any time soon.

Sunday morning, I didn't have any classes. So I took advantage of the opportunity to have one last stroll (or two) through the marketplace, and check out the Sock Museum:

Then I headed downtown to spend some much-needed time alone in the Classical Chinese Gardens:

Apparently, I wasn't the only one with that idea, as I saw a few other Summiteers sitting alone in the tea house. It was a perfect little interlude, before heading back for the Luminary Panel.

A collection of eight pioneers in the fibre arts...also, dynamic, creative, witty, empowered women with a love of history and adventure...moderated by two humble visionaries who made a lot of magic for a lot of people.

Capped things off with a 10-person crew for dinner out (at a restaurant with cutlery!) Much laughing and sharing (and some decent Indian food) made for good closure. Though we never did answer the question, "Now what? How do we go back to "real" life and explain this to people?"

Annimol and I stayed up late talking, long after we turned the lights off. The next morning, she said what I'd been thinking: Maybe if we didn't go to sleep, it wouldn't end?

Saturday's child is totally stoned on the yarn fumes.

Saturday morning, I had a class with JC Briar, Cast-on Cornucopia. Going in, I thought it might be a bit basic for me, but maybe good review. Boy, was I wrong! Even the stuff I thought I knew was full of light-bulb moments, and I learned a whack of new techniques. JC was a fantastic teacher - clear, engaging, and saintly-patient. I wish I'd been able to get into her Bind-off class, too - apparently it was just as excellent.

Saturday evening was the Ravelry party, at the lovely World Forestry Center. The folks from Rav put on a fine shin-dig, complete with swag bags and goodies:

There were, of course, socks:

And some very, very fine semi-local porter:

We capped off the evening with a stop at Voodoo Donuts...we waited in a half-block line-up for a good half-hour, and it was well-worth it.

It's not every day you get crunched up Butterfinger bars, or mini-M&Ms, or Froot Loops on your donuts!

(Yes, there are Froot Loops on those donuts. For really and for true! I loved Portland....)

Friday's child is full of...more yarn!

Friday morning I had another class, of which I will not speak (much). Though with a few days to ponder, I think if either a) the class description had been more accurate; or b) the class was a full day instead of 3 hours...Then I think I would have had a different experience. And there was some consolation when I discovered that many of the other students shared my feeling. However, I was easily able to soothe myself with another trip to the marketplace, and a very good blackberry milkshake with lunch.

But first, there was more important business to attend to. The breaking of a Guinness world record (we hope - final decision yet to be announced!) I almost bailed on this, and I'm so glad I didn't - it was a hoot! Just me and 934 of my new friends:

Including Arctic Knitter (who was very gracious when I totally got her name wrong when I ran into her right after Cat Bordhi's class the day before! Then again, we were all experiencing brain-melt!)

My wee bit of knitting for the cause:

And...there was this to look forward to:

More Kinnearing of the fine ladies of ST-1:

I'm glad to see a glass of wine in Stephanie's hand. She certainly earned it. I'm convinced that all the women in ST-1 and ST-2 are imbued with superpowers. They're certainly not mere mortals like the rest of us!

There was Twisting (apparently a couple glasses of wine, and I think I can dance like I'm 16 again. I paid for it the next day, but it was well worth it!)

There was much laughter (that's my room-mate Annimol, she was a blast):

And emergency surgery on knitpixxie's wedding veil:

The woman, to quote moonbrain, has balls of cast iron. She walked around all weekend getting the instructors and luminaries to knit a few stitches each on the veil. Including Meg Swansen and Barbara-freaking-Walker. How cool is that?!

One little critter, taking a time out from the dancing....

It was a full day, indeed!

Thursday's child is full of yarn!

Thursday, I had a 6-hour class with Cat Bordhi. That woman is insane, and brilliant, and I couldn't form a coherent sentence for about 2 hours afterward, and I am so glad I was lucky enough to get into her class.

At lunch, my roomie and I (we were in the class together) were in the elevator at our hotel and someone asked us what Cat was teaching us. I'm sure I looked like a fish out of water, my mouth opening and closing while I tried to think of just how to sum it up in the space of an elevator ride. My roomie finally blurted out, quite accurately: "Her brain. She's teaching us her brain."

Someone else summed Cat up perfectly: "So many of the designers and knitters here are amazing for thinking outside the box. But for Cat Bordhi, there is no box." During class, I knit my first-ever toe-up sock. It's a darling wee thing, and I'm now a convert.

But, as brilliant as the class was, we all booked out of there as soon as it finished, to get in line for the opening of the marketplace. It was students-only on Thursday...See the lineup?

It was huge. I got turned around so many times over the weekend. And I fell down, hard. Fortunately, the blow was well-cushioned by all the fibre.

This is Brian, who is knitting 7 pairs of socks at once, and he made more progress on his 14 socks over the weekend than I did on one.

A view of the lobby, en route to the opening reception:

Kinnearing Casey from Ravelry:

The tribe gathers:

There was finger-food and wine, and a welcoming speech by the Yarn Harlot and Tina that was by turns hilarious and moving, and they set the tone wonderfully. "We made this for you, we hope you like it."

Yes, I'd say we did!

Friday's adventures to follow soon.....


So...Sock Summit 2009 was everything I hoped it would be, and more. It was a hilarious, heartwarming, edifying, inspiring, validating, astonishing, life-changing, yarn-fondling, friend-making, marvellous gathering of the tribe. If you weren't there, I can't really explain it to you. If you were, I don't need to (and I miss each of you, my 2000 new best knitting friends!) Regardless of which group you fall into, words will not suffice. But I can't not document it. So I'm going with a (small) photo essay, day by day, of the magic that was SS09....

Beginning with coming off the plane in Portland, having had the excellent company of GlennaC and moonbrain at the airport in Vancouver and on the flight south:

I was greeted warmly by the sign at my hotel (yes, I squee-d):

The view from my hotel room - the Oregon Convention Centre, just across the street:

The banners on the street around the OCC were even cooler in real life (yes, there was more squee-ing):

At registration, trying my hand at Kinnearing the instigator of the sport:

(Yes, that's the back of the Yarn Harlot's head. Again with the squee-ing.)

And finally, a trip (my first!) to Trader Joe's for snacks and essentials:

(For other Canadian readers, can I just point out the price on that wine? OMG! You can barely buy a latte up here for that!)

Then it was early to bed, the better to be prepared for a full day on Thursday.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

No place like home...

And here I am again, back home and feeling surprisingly like a fish out of water. Something to be said for gathering with the tribe...and quite disorienting to re-adjust to "real" life. SS09 was....amazing, magical, crazy-wonderful, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Etc. etc. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

But I'm going to. Wait, that is. On my way out the door for a spontaneous dinner date, so pics and details will have to sit till tomorrow. I'll try to make it worth the wait.

In the meantime, it was very hard to go to work today, rather than climb into my suitcase and roll around in all the new yarn.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Postscripts and addendums

Having had some semblance of sleep last night, thank FSM, there are a few details of Day One that I can fill in. The marketplace was open to students only yesterday....yarny brilliance aside, I got to wave hello to a certain bunneh of my acquaintance...Funny thing there is, she lives 10 minutes away from me, and we both have to come all the way to Portland to be in the same room!

I also got to meet a few bloggers in real life, which was brilliant. H from
The Wandering Stitch, to whom I owe a bit of an apology for being a gibbering idiot. In my defense, I had just spent several hours with Cat Bordhi, and it took me a good couple of hours to form a coherent sentence after that! (Speaking of Cat Bordhi, she has a new book coming out in the fall. Just in time for my birthday. HINT to any fambly members reading this!) Also, I met Pam the Yarn Goddess in person. She gives great hugs.

Someone else waiting to use the computer, so I'll have to tell you another time about the milkshakes with fresh blackberries, and the side-splitting welcome we got from Tina and Stephanie last night. Off to find breakfast, and coffee, and maybe a ticket to see about breaking a world record.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brain Melting! Send wine.

Have to be quick, a line-up for the hotel too confuzzled to be coherent, though! Fortunately, there's a bottle of wine waiting in my room. 6-hour class with Cat Bordhi brainpan has boiled over and I can't wait for her new book in October!

Portland, at least near the convention centre, is filthy with knitters, all of us wearing big (stunned) goofy grins. Lots of squeals and "I can't believe I'm really here" comments from people of all ages, sizes, and yarn preferences. SO COOL to be part of this! More mind-blowing tomorrow, and a sock hop. Was surprisingly restrained at marketplace today. We'll see what happens over the course of the weekend, though!

(OMG I can't believe I'm really HERE!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beginning the final approach to the Summit

I can't believe I actually slept last night. I don't think I've been so excited about something since I still believed in Santa Claus! But I did sleep, and quite well. Got up really early, though. And still seem to be a little disorganized, despite the extra time. But that's OK - All the critical stuff is packed and ready to go. I even have a lot of room left in my suitcase; it's only about half-full. That's quite an accomplishment, since I seem to have over-internalized the Girl Guide motto "Be Prepared" and tend to pack along the "kitchen-sink-and-stove" lines.

Mr.Q kept calling me yesterday and just saying "Sock Summit" into the phone. I'd squeal every time, which he found quite amusing. This morning, I just woke up laughing. Now I'm caffeinated and showered, with a little under an hour to go before my ride gets here (thanks, yarnpiggy, for offering! I know you're only doing it for yarn, but since it saves me the joy of public transit, I'll happily take the bait!) I'm not quite sure what to do with myself now!

(Oh, wait. I guess I could, umm, I dunno...knit?)

Leaving you with a (bad, hastily-taken) pic of my new socks, to be worn at the Sock Hop.

Bye! Miss me! Not sure if I'll be able to blog from Portland...if not, look for a big post next week!

(And - thanks, Mr.Q, for not letting me talk myself out of doing this...sometimes that over-developed sense of responsibility I have really gets in the way of actually doing things. Yer awesome!)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Choking on mush balls

I was in the bathroom a couple nights ago, washing up before bed, when I heard Mr.Q curse - under his breath, but quite vehemently nonetheless: "Holy shit!" His chair moved, and I heard him stomp into the hallway.

I stuck my head out the door to ask if he was OK, and I saw him running, crouched over, into the bedroom. He was wielding a board game and smashing it against the floor as he ran. There was some rustling about and more cursing before he emerged from the bedroom. He looked rather dejected.

When I asked him about it, he said a HUGE spider had come scuttling down the hall, and he was trying to get it before I saw it and freaked out. (And he would much rather "liberate" a spider than kill it, so I know it must have been a monster...eew!)

He then went back into the bedroom, armed with the board game and a flashlight, to see if he could flush it out. No luck, but he carefully scouted the floor around the bed for me before I got into it - and again in the morning, before I got up. And there were a couple other (smaller!) spiders liberated over the weekend, as well.

Today is a good day to acknowledge his would-be heroics. For all that I expect to be found under an avalanche of vinyl one day, he is still my knight in shining armour. Or something. Anyway, it's 7 years today that we stood in front of that red drum kit (not on a flat-bed truck!) and said "we do."

We still do. I think I'll keep him!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"When it's just not right, it's just not right"

(Most of this has been lifted from beentsy - thanks, darlin', for permission to plagiarize!)

...By that I mean the HST that the provincial Liberal government has suddenly decided to saddle my fair province with. I don’t normally rant about politics but this is oh so very wrong. If you agree, please write to your MLA and tell them so. Or go here and sign a petition that the NDP has set up. At least it’s one way of saying ‘NO’ to this tax.

It’s time to remind the government that they are there by our good graces, not because it is their right.

(At this point, dear beentsy mentions putting away her soapbox. Here's hoping she's just putting it down to grab a pitchfork. Seriously, people, this just sucks. It blows big, hairy, smelly, Gordo-goats. Please take a minute to write your MLA! And for the love of wool, take a minute to find out, from a source other than the BC government, just how much this is going to cost you. Then, do something!)

News from the (hot) front

Sorry it's been awhile (again) But really, there's been nothing to post. It's been too damned hot to do anything to post about. Crazy-hot. We've been living on cold cereal and water. Spending a lot of time laying sideways across the top of the bed, right under the ceiling vent with the "air conditioning" coming through. (I'm not sure it's really AC, but it's cooler than the air in the rest of the apartment, so we'll take it, thanks! Unfortunately, it seems to have been turned off, so I think the landlords may have gone away for the weekend. I haz a big sad!)

Anyhoo. Gearing up for Sock Summit (squee!)...almost finished my Sock Hop socks (though it may be too hot to wear them!) Practicing a couple techniques for classes, finalizing plans, organizing stuff to pack, preparing to have my brain completely melted and looking forward to it! (Three more sleeps! Not that I'm counting or anything.)

Of course, life doesn't stop just because there's a Sock Summit. Even if it should. (Follow the links, if you're interested, for picks of the banners on the streetlamps in Portland. And the Mayor's proclamation, declaring next week "Sock Knitting Week.")

No, there are still other things going on. Like helping the cats deal with the heat...lots of water consumption all around, Chez Quimby. Cats sprawled on tile floors or under beds, or uncharacteristically staying out all night when the temperature is more bearable. And also taking advantage of the air flow from the vent above the head of our bed:

I know. The feline dignity just oozes from every furry pore, does it not? He's actually doing a better job of sharing than usual. Normally, he just pushes your head right off the pillow.

Also spent a lovely day out in the 'burbs with Sis & her husband. I'm not sure that poking around un-air-conditioned antique shops was the wisest idea, but the frozen chocolate drink from a hand-made chocolate boutique was quite divine! We also took a quick jaunt out to one of the wineries in the area. It's a fruit winery, with some lovely strawberry, cranberry, pear-and-apple, blueberry, etc, table wines.

There was wine tasting, and a little more shopping than perhaps there ought to have been...Some dry white cranberry wine, some slightly-sweet strawberry wine, and a blackberry "port"....maybe a little extravagant, but it is our anniversary tomorrow, and since it's too hot to cook - perhaps a cheese-and-wine picnic will be just the thing! We also picked up a jar of maple syrup & walnut "cheese pleaser" spread. Which will be amazing with some cambozola or chevre on a baguette. Nom nom nom!

An afternoon in the sun left us pretty fried, so we went back to Sis' place and let our feet soak in the "spa" (a kiddie-pool on their balcony) before going out for Mexican food and then ice cream. A decadent day indeed! Somewhat long, and too much time in the sun, but that just made for a solid sleep last night.

A last pic of the winery, since Sis likes to show off her belly:

(And I'm happy to indulge her, as she's being a very dutiful Little Sister and giving me a new neice or nephew for Christmas!)