Ears still ringing this morning. One of Mr.Q's bands had their album release last night - and by album, I mean record - red vinyl, even! I don't often go to this band's shows, as there aren't a lot of folksy fiddle tunes involved, nor is there often going to bed before dawn. Being a folk-music lover who needs her beauty sleep, well...not a lot of twain-meeting with The Belushis.
But, an album release is kind of a big deal, so I chugged a large mug of strong coffee at about 8:30 last night, and headed down to the pub. The scruffy rockers had cleaned themselves up for the occasion, and quite nicely I might add! Mr.Q and one of the guitarists spent the better part of the afternoon going in and out of menswear shops, and he came home with a (shiny!) black shirt that looked...well, let's just say he looked mighty fine last night!
It was a late evening. And...LOUD. VERY VERY LOUD. Also, a lot of fun.
Start with a stack of buttermilk pancakes. Heat up some leftover pulled pork (and no, that's not a euphemism!). Simmer some maple syrup with a slug (or two) of bourbon until it's thick. Layer the pancakes & pork on a plate, and drown in the maple-bourbon syrup. Serve hot, with napkins handy, and watch his eyes roll back into his head while making a face that is best not seen in public, ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudo.
So it turns out that I am so bad at multitasking that - never mind walking and chewing gum - I can't even stand still and drink coffee at the same time. This morning, I was trying to finish the last of my (now-icy-cold) coffee when I missed my mouth and spilled it all down my chin, neck, and shirt. On the plus side: it's a black shirt, so no harm done. On the minus: I smelled like coffee all day. It was everything I could do to resist sucking on the fabric when I was dozing off on the bus home.
Guess today gets put on the list with the mailbox-meets-nose incident, and the time I was making photocopies & gave myself a paper cut on the edge of my nostril.
I came home today to find an unnervingly-official-looking letter in the mailbox, stern bold print on blue paper showing through the window of the envelope. I opened it up right on the step, and found a jury summons inside. How cool is that?! The wording of it entertains me..."at the hour of 9:15 o'clock in the fore noon" "Given under my hand, the nth day of March..." etc. etc.
Sadly, I have to request an exemption, coz if I were selected, it would be for 3-4 weeks, and we just can't afford for me to miss that much work. If it were a shorter time frame, though, I'd jump at the chance. I mean, who knows if I'd even make it through selection, but even to see that in action would be neat!
Friday night out was a leetle later than I'd planned, so most of yesterday was lost in a haze of sloth and napping. I'd love to say today is much more productive, but we were also out late last night, and what with the time change, well, I think today's a write-off too. I got as far as digging out a muffin recipe and turning on the oven before I realized that, although I wanted to eat muffins, I couldn't really be arsed to make them.
So I turned the oven off, put the cookbook away, and pulled out my knitting. In very short order I was reminded of one of the...shall we say, inconsistencies in my relationship with yarny pursuits. I'm working on a lace project, which is delightful. I love knitting lace: reading the charts, watching the ramen-like stitches pile up on each other, watching the pattern emerge, anticipating the magic of blocking....
What I don't love is the counting. Which is unavoidable in lace knitting. Bah! Maths. Somehow I don't think this was the use my teachers had in mind when they told me I'd need math in real life someday.
A sad coffee morning. I went to a different location of my favourite local cafe this morning, and it just wasn't the same. I missed the Cheers-like vibe, and frankly, the espresso tasted like the grind was off. Still, a crappy cup of their coffee is better than anything that Tim Horton's has to offer. I was accused of being a Coffee Snob by a co-worker, when I said this in my out-loud voice.
My response: "Well, duh! And, so?"
Took a picture of a tree trunk today that looked like an elephant's leg. Too lazy/tired to get it off my camera just now, though. Will post tomorrow if I can, or on the weekend.
Tomorrow may be a hiatus from the 30-Day thing. I have a hella long meeting after work, and I would like to actually go out on a Friday night, instead of going to bed before 9:00. So I'm giving myself permission to skip posting, if need be, with the understanding that I'll have to make it up on the other side.
Picked up my newest new yarn from the LYS today. I'm tempted to wind it & cast on right away, but it's closer to bed-time than I want to admit. It will have to wait till Saturday, I suppose. A better chance I'll get the heel done on my sock-in-progess then, anyway, which bodes well for actually finishing the sock (& its mate) in a reasonable time frame.
A cold, grey day today. Coffee after work with a friend I haven't seen since Christmas, and her wee, just-walking lad danced with me to U2. He got annoyed that I wouldn't play the Gravity Game with him, but I got a cuddle full of baby curls all the same. Came home to a call from the LYS that yarn I ordered is waiting for me; I wasn't expecting it for a few weeks yet. It's Yarn Week, I guess! Turkey soup & quesadillas for supper. Hooray for Tetris Freezer! It's getting a little sparse in there; time for another cooking jag or two.
(Spell check wants to change "quesadillas" to "quadrilles" and suddenly I'm thinking of Alice in Wonderland and mock turtles...)
This is what a rainy Sunday looks like Chez Q. (At least, for some of the residents!)
Me, I've got dough rising for cinnamon buns, and I'm just about to mix up a fresh mango salsa to go with tonight's dinner. No rest for the wicked! Might have to bake myself up some woecakes to go with my whine.
One of the responsibilities of my job is, every other month, to mentor a student teacher during their practicum for their TESOL certificate. It can be quite challenging, for a number of reasons (and read "challenging" as both fun and difficult - it's frequently both, at the same time!) but it can also be totally awesome. And often in completely unexpected ways. I have a practicum student right now who is not cut from the usual cloth, and it's been delighfully refreshing. Her lessons (she has to teach 8 of my classes over a month) have been quite different, both in approach and topic, to what I've become used to. In a good way! But the lesson she taught yesterday (for a writing class), as it turned out, grabbed my attention in a way that was beyond mere professional interest.
She had come across a video about this guy's "30 Day Challenges", and built a lesson around it. And holy moley, did it ever send my brain into overdrive! I've got this 40 by 40 list, as I've mentioned before, and the deadline...is coming up a little faster than I'd realized! So this lesson got me thinking, and plotting, and scheming - and revising - and I came home last night and locked myself in my Magic Room with a pen and paper & started making lists. And I've got me a plan! Which, as it happens, ties into both yesterday's class, and yesterday's post about the bed.
I dug out my original 40x40 list, and a lot of it was, really, not realistic. By "not realistic" I mean in terms of time, finances, and sheer nerve. There was no way I would have the money or the time to do all those things, in a relatively short period - less than two years, from the time I made the list. I knew it at the time, and it was OK. I knew I wouldn't do everything on the list - but I figured if it even got me to accomplish a few items, that was a win! (And let's be honest - I may try parasailing one day, but skydiving is really unlikely. And I don't feel like that's a bad thing!)
(I'm not saying never to skydiving, either, though. FYI.)
(And, for the record, I'm not tossing the list...I'll add them to a 50x50!)
But...I've already crossed a chunk of items of the list. Without really even meaning to, it seems, as though the act of writing them down were, in itself, enough to get things rolling. Since I wrote the list, about 18 months ago, I have:
grown my hair out
dyed my hair blue
knit myself a sweater
learned to make a decent pie crust
gone to Montreal
taken a photography class
ridden a rollercoaster
taken French lessons
gone to not one (as per the list), but two big knitting-related events: Rhinebeck and Sock Summit
got a new bed
and the one I'm most proud of: the list said to have planned & be saving for a trip overseas. Exceeded Expectations on that one!
So. Last night I made two lists: a revised 40x40 (which includes items already accomplished!), which I stand a good chance of being able to finish in the next 6 months (but it's not a cake-walk, either, coz where's the fun in that?!). And a list of 30 Day Challenges for myself, some of which will help me cross off the rest of that 40.
My rules are simple: doubling up is fine! For example, one challenge on my list is to spend 30 minutes a day in my Magic Room. Another is to practice ukulele for 15 minutes every day. Since I practice in the Magic Room, that time totally counts!
"30-Day" Challenge can also be a "Monthly" challenge - for example, I want to try some new wines; a bottle a day is a little much, but one a week (shared!) for a month is reasonable. The challenges can be repeated as desired; some of them are designed to just try something new and some are in the hopes of building new habits to keep. Also, they aren't necessarily related to the List of 40, but can be used to work toward them.
So: first challenge: for the next 30 days, I will:
write a blog post a day! (which may or may not be about The Lists)
take a photo a day (which I may or may not use as a post)
eat at least half of my daily servings of fruits and veg as veggies - I'm good at eating in the range of recommended servings, and have been trying to find ways to stuff even more into meals, but I tend to eat way more fruit than vegetables. More carrots! And "ants on a log" totally count!
Off to make sure my camera battery is charged up before we leave the house. Let the games begin!
Emerging from hibernation. "Waking up" with the first signs of spring has been more difficult that in previous years. I could blame it on the weather (which would be partially true), the lack of light (also true, in part), the mountains of cooking & baking that have taken over my weekends (which is both true and tasty! and lets me play Tetris in my freezer).
But the real reason, truth be told, is that we finally broke down and bought a new mattress. (We've only been talking about it for two years now!) So a few weekends ago we found ourselves at IKEA, lying around on mattresses and comparing notes on various thicknesses of mattress-y layers, and trying not to doze off on some of them. And the next night, a very nice delivery driver showed up at our doorstep with our shiny new mattress, all rolled up and compressed like a giant space burrito.
And It. Is. Awesome! I can't believe how much of a difference it makes. I just want to sleep all the time! I go to work, and I miss my bed. I went to bed at SEVEN O'CLOCK last Friday night - FRIDAY!!! - and I didn't care. Of course, the cats also love the new bed, so there are more of them in there with us, more of the time.
So, anyway, I've been busy sleeping. Or lounging in bed. Or wrassling cats for space in the bed. It's been brilliant! But the light's staying longer, and the crocuses and snowdrops are out, and there's more birdsong in the mornings, and it's time to come out of the cave again.
It hasn't all been hiding in bed in the basement. There's been knitting, of course, and also learning to play the ukulele that Mr.Q got me for Christmas. (You should hear me play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"! I feel like I'm in Grade 2, learning recorder again. SO. MUCH. FUN!!!!)
Mr.Q has been around a bit more, too, the last few weeks, so we've been catching up on some Quality Time. For January and the first half of Feb, he was in school for his last round of apprenticeship classes. Between homework sessions and study marathons, I didn't see much of him for the first 6 weeks or so of the year. However, I'm most proud to report, he passed both his final exam and his inter-provincial accreditation exam with strong marks. A few more months of work hours, and he'll be a ticketed journeyman carpenter. Clever man! I've asked him to build me a spiral staircase when he builds our Dream House. I don't even care if it goes anywhere - just a staircase, from floor to ceiling, in the living room, with books and plants and cats lounging on it. I wants one, my preciousss!
I had an interesting class today, which was actually my reason for posting, but I'm going to have to leave it till tomorrow. It's almost bed time (BED! O GLORIOUS BED!) and I can hear my pillow calling me. And the effort in getting the laptop up and going tonight (it needed some TLC) has been rather...epic! Also, Mr.Q has just scarpered off with my ukulele, and must be discouraged from such impertinence! Stinker. It's the spray bottle for him. (After he puts the uke down, of course.) Till tomorrow!
The cats, contributing their part to the running of the household:
Singe supervises Mr.Q's stairs-trigonometry homework, and helps:
And I made a hat! A birthday gift for my niece, who is far too old today. The photo does not nearly capture the shiny, sparkly, awesomeness of that pink button. (It does, however, capture the bird poop I failed to notice at the time. I promise, sister-dearest, that your daughter's hat never touched it!)
I've been in the throes of domestic goddess-hood for the past few weeks, and have had many good intentions of photographing the bounty of my kitchen, for blogging purposes....but got too bogged down in clean-up (and eating!) to remember. So please imagine, if you will: cupcakes, soups, bread, pies, scones, stews, stir-fries, and a ham twice the size of Mr.Q's head. (Thank Bob I'm brilliant at Tetris, or my freezer wouldn't be able to contain all the leftovers!) There has also been Life Outside the Kitchen: parties, coffee dates, movie double-dates, and of course, work.
Lots of baking & cooking = time for introspection, while stirring, kneading, beating, pouring, timing, and washing up. Some truths about Life, the Universe, and Everything have been either discovered or re-affirmed...
Raspberry jam in chocolate cupcakes is a brilliant idea, in theory. In practice, it sinks to the bottom & sticks to the paper during baking. If one's goal is a Martha Stewart cupcake, one has failed. If, however, one loves an excuse to lick the crumbs off the paper liner, this becomes an unqualified success!
Tin-foil tiaras are even more fun at 39 than they were at 9. And somewhere in the intervening years, I have lost any inhibitions about wearing one in public. Under the right circumstances. (Publicly weilding a giant wooden spoon as a "sceptre" at the same time will undoubtedly generate comments of a...saucy...nature.)
A pastry mat is a brilliant thing for rolling out pie crusts. For kneading bread: not so much.
I like knitting.
I have a lot of yarn.
Grammar is cool. And I am an unashamed grammar geek.
Listening to a guy on the bus try to explain to his friend the difference between "Let's eat, Grandpa!" and "Let's eat Grandpa!" is probably a lot funnier to English teachers and grammar geeks than to most other people. (Punctuation saves lives!)
Murphy's law in action: if you change the bedding, and use the last set of clean sheets to do so (because the dryer's broken, and you just haven't had room to hang the clean sheets to dry in your wee apartment yet) - this is the day you will come home again and find that a cat has vomited on your clean sheets. And your pillows.
A phone call from the doctor's office reminding you that it's time for your date with the stainless steel duck lips of doom is never going to generate feelings of warm fuzziness.
Weather that's finally cold enough to wear wool socks, however, does generate feelings of warm fuzziness, both figurative and literal.
Snow is pretty! And watching people from hot climates watch the first snowfall of the season - and it was a perfect snowfall: great, huge, fluffy flakes - is highly entertaining.
Those great huge fluffly flakes bring out an irresistable urge to catch them on my tongue. Never mind that I'm in public. I wish they really did taste like white chocolate, though!
I had intended to post yesterday: get the New Year off to a good start and all that. Heck, I'd intended to do a lot of things yesterday that just...didn't happen! Waking up with a wicked sinus cold put the kaibosh on most of my day.
I had planned an idyllic New Year's Day that included putting a roast in the slow-cooker for dinner, and baking scones as a vehicle for the apple jelly my sister sent us for Christmas. Those, I did accomplish, albeit somewhat later than intended. (The scones were going to happen come hell or high water, dammit, as the quest for Devonshire cream to go with them was rather epic!) But the kitchen-ing wore me out, and the fanatbulous New Year's brunch I had envisioned (scones, eggs, bacon, mimosas, etc) remained, sadly, quite imaginary.
Instead of spending a lovely afternoon in my Magic Room, knitting & finally picking up the ukelele Mr.Q got me for Christmas...well, I sort of had a 4-hour nap and woke up again at 5:30, just in time for dinner. No problem; I could still spend a couple hours knitting & plucking, before sitting down to a game of cards with Mr.Q before bed. After all, I'd had a 4-hour nap, so surely I'd be up late!
I got as far as the couch in the Magic Room & promptly dozed off again. I managed to bestir myself just enough to crawl back into bed well before 8:00, and slept another 12 hours. I guess I needed it. And if yesterday was any indication, I guess the theme for 2012 lies somewhere between "The best-laid plans, etc. etc.", "Go with the flow," and "Naps! Good!"
Today, I Have Been Told. I am under strict orders to do nothing but doze and knit, and holler when I want something. Mr.Q is about to make me a bacon sandwich for lunch, and then I think I shall have another nap. Days like this, I don't mind playing the dutiful, obedient wife & doing what I'm told!
(And yes, Mr.Q has indeed cut off his hair. I had mixed feelings about it when he left to get it done, but I, umm....well, I really like it on him! Much better than the last time he shaved it all short, without telling me. On the morning of our wedding! Though this time around, it was a bit shocking for the first couple of days, waking up next to him and not quite recognizing him in the initial dazed not-quite-conscious seconds of the morning!)