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?)