Thursday, December 31, 2009

Drive-by New Years Eve post

I can't do photos, because I'm on Hubby's laptop, and mine isn't turned on (plus I'm too damn lazy to reset the comcast box)... but I can report that I'm about 24" into the scarf I'm knitting with the Fleece Artist yarn my Godmother sent (it's wool/angora/nylon, called "Peter Rabbit", in the colorway "Celtic Colors")... and it's fab.

We also just had an hour-long videocall with 2/3 of the family, and it was fun and melancholy at the same time. My little brother made faces behind my mother's head, which was hilarious, but my heart broke everytime N. tried to hand toys to his Grammie to play with, not realizing she couldn't take them through the screen. My three-month contract extension isn't long enough to plan a trip on, either, so I hope they can come down soon.

I won't likely be awake at midnight, but here's to 2009, it was a very good year... and here's to hoping 2010 is even better... more knitting, more pictures, more travel, more sleep... full of mores :-)

See y'all next year! xo

Friday, December 25, 2009

Drive-by Christmas post

Or is that a sleigh-fly-by post?

Although it's the least Christmas-like Christmas we've ever had, it's also been the least stressful so far. N. is playing with a new block set that his Uncle J. sent, we're watching crappy movies on TV, and no one is out of their PJs yet.

Not many gift surprises for us - I got Hubby the DVD of the full Fawlty Towers series from the BBC (family tradition), and my gift is to attend the drop spindle class at the LYS in January... full disclosure: I reserved my spot when I was in a week or so ago, and went home to tell him, at which point he threw a fit because he had been planning on going in to sign up for me. So he gets total credit.

One thing that actually made me a bit teary was a parcel from my Godmother. She's our closest family friend, and after all these years, we always have a Christmas visit, and she always gets me the best presents. She sent me my annual PJs (last years had sheep and yarn balls on them), and the second small gift was wrapped tightly... I opened it to find a skein of Fleece Artist Angora blend yarn in a colorway called "Celtic Colors". It's named after a fall music festival that takes place every year at home, and we're also famous for our fall foliage. The yarn is made locally, and it's such a nice piece of home. It was such a beautiful, thoughtful gift... and she's gone down to her country place for the holidays without internet (and I haven't got her phone number), so I can't call her to thank her yet....

I promise more photos and updates soon, but for now I think I have some more block towers to build, and dump trucks to push around the floor...

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Here's to NOT travelling

It's the first year in AGES that I'm not travelling for the holidays, and I don't quite know what to do with myself... I'm still busy (dammit) but it's much less stressful.

And, since it's the 21st and I'm still at work (gah!) I'm posting a photo then heading home... this is one of many shots from N.'s Christmas photoshoot at a place that I shall not indentify, that we did back in November. It's the photo that was in my wallet that I scanned earlier today; I'm hoping to scan the rest soon, because darn it I paid enough for them.

(actually, I got them for next to nothing by combining coupons and memberships and all that sort of thing... so I can't complain)

Look at that little punim... SO CUTE my kid! (of course, I'm biased)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I've figured out my kind of cookie.

My kind of cookie isn't fussy. No dough-rolling, no cookie cutters. Preferably one bowl, and dispensable with a little ice-cream-type scoop. I'll flatten out if necessary, put sprinkles on if they'll stick, and even throw in chocolate or peanut butter chips on occasion, but that's the end of it.

I've made three kinds of cookies so far this holiday - gingerbread cookies (rolled, sliced, baked w/colored sugar), sugar cookies (ditto) and shortbreads (scooped, sprinkled, flattened). The shortbreads are by far the simplest and the tastiest, and I hope to get a pic before they all get eaten or bagged up for gifts. It's the classic flour/cornstarch/conf. sugar/butter recipe, and forgive me, but GODDAMN they're good.

Who knew four ingredients could be so frigging delicious?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Purple is not blue... or, the complete awesomeness that is my new LYS

I'm still alive, and none the worse for wear, fortunately. I had been meaning to post since ages, but between non-turkey day and another bout of illness and just general laziness, I never got around to it... chasing after a toddler who is desperate to pull down christmas lights is rather tiring ;-)

I wanted to post on Saturday, and I was going to have just one nice thing to talk about, but it's turned into four Nice Things, and they all involve knitting.

This past Saturday, we bundled N. into his stroller, complete with rain tent, and took off for downtown to avoid going nuts in the house. We'd just come off a few days of toddler fever (although no coughing, yay!) and wanted to a change of scenery, so off we went to our fave Greek diner for some pastichio and the best Greek salad outside of my home province.

(a side note: My kid likes grown up food. Given the choice between fries and pastichio, he picked the pasta, ignored the fries, and asked for seconds. He's also been known to eat my zucchini and steal all the goat cheese and balsamic glaze from his daddy's plate when we make those things at home.)

So. Yes. Saturday. After eating, we decided to run into the new LYS, because of Nice Thing #1 - one of my friends is pregnant again, which necessitates a new blanket. Her other kids all have quilts or knitted blankets from me, and her at-the-moment-youngest is my Goddaughter, who will receive her secret prezzie as soon as I finish the blanket for her sibling ;-)

CIN.: STOP READING HERE, PLEASE!!! YOU'LL SEE THE FINISHED PRODUCT SOON ENOUGH!!

I'd been planning on doing the Frances nursing shawl from Vintage Baby Knits, but needed a sub for the Socks that Rock, because I'm not spending $140 on something to get spit up on and be hand washed... plus it's a lot of tiny little stitches to get done on a deadline. So, we went into the store with N. in tow, and he toddled around, wanting to play with the spinning wheel, but being generally good while I started looking for inspiration. I had on my Clapotis, and was pleasantly accosted by a woman who turned out to be one of the partners, L. :-). Then, one of the other partners, J.1 (who I'd met the first time I went in), came over and introduced us, as she'd remembered my name from my previous visit... It was so welcoming and friendly, and Hubby was amazed and quite entertained by it all. We chatted and the store was very busy, but none of us felt rushed or neglected. It was really nice to chat with multiple knitters at once, and have them understand me, whether it was about yarn or techniques or patterns or whatever. And people were coming in and out to just hang around and sit and knit. Very cool. So, that visit on Saturday became Nice Thing #2.

As we were thinking about heading out, after smooshing lots of yarn but finding none that was suitable for the Frances shawl, I saw a piece by the third business partner, a log cabin blanket, draped in the corner. It was baby-sized, but not rainbow-pastel, and was fun and colorful but sophisticated at the same time. Hubby came over to me as I was holding it and said, "That. You have to do that. Seriously." He's not a decision maker, nor is he super pushy with his opinions, so I knew he must've really liked it.

I thought about it over the weekend, and come Monday morning (my supposed day off), the laundry was done, and while I had to work a half day to deal with some cultures and DNA extractions, I had time to myself in the morning. Off I went, back to the store, and met the third partner, J.2, in person and spent some serious time picking out colors for this new baby blanket. After figuring it all out, I swatched while she wound one of the colors for me on their swift, and I managed to get three or four of the initial blocks done before leaving to meet up with Hubby for lunch. It was such a treat to sit and knit and chat a little with two of the owners (L. also came in while I was there). So, Monday morning was Nice Thing #3.

Today, though, I ran into a snag. My color scheme involves one variegated yarn, and six others that highlight its colors. The problem is, one of my choices was the wrong shade. Too much plum, not enough navy. So, I decided to email the store to see what my options were - I know that yarn comes in a better shade, but they didn't have any when I was there and I thought the plum would be good enough (and, yes, I should know better; purple will not become blue no matter how many times I stare at it or how much I cross my eyes).

Huzzah, we come to Nice Thing #4. L. is putting an order in and has included my color request!

I'm desperately hoping to get into a routine of heading down to do some knitting with them on Saturday afternoons when N. naps, or perhaps on my theoretical days off, assuming I can get a handle on the laundry and cleaning.

Bottom line - they've been open for a month, but these ladies know what they're doing. I hate to play favourites (particularly with knitting stores, since we're all such a community), and I know there's room for everyone, but I also believe in getting my money's worth, and I believe customer service is a lost art. While I do love some of the staff at the old place, I (like most people) have limited funds and limited time, and I have to make the most of both.

So, thank you, Knit, for being the little store that could. I can't say enough good things about you! :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I swear, it's not my fault :-)

Hubby has monopolized the internets this week, trying desperately to get a project off the ground, and since we have no wireless I've been forced into radio silence.

I've done some baking (yay!) and some knitting (yay! yay!), but can't find the camera cord (boo!) Theoretically I should be home tomorrow, and we did the laundry already, so I have no excuse to not knit/bake/upload/etc.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey day

MIA for non-turkey turkey day... more soon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mobile Stitch 'n' you-know-what.

Totally wasn't going to post today, but had to tell you -

I got on the bus today and sat next to one of Hubby's other lab mates, who happens to be knitting a baby blanket for an upcoming niece-in-law (and had asked me yarn and blanket size advice weeks back). She's still in the "scarf-hat-rectangular things" stage of knitting, but is very proficient and has great color sense (IMHO); we also share a sense of humour :-)

When Hubby got on the bus, he saw her knitting, so he took N. from me and I had the chance to do some bus knitting for the first time in a huge while.

But that's not the best of it.

I gave my first lesson, on cabling without a cable needle... she'd been afraid of cables, but wanted to learn, so I used my CPH to explain. I think she even understood (although will understand better if/when she tries on her own).

It was so much fun... although not as much fun as everyone else's reaction to the two knitting weirdos ;-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week 4

I'm now heading into week 4 of this cold/flu/psychosomatic avoidance of the real world, and it sucks. N. is doing well, and doesn't seem to have developed the secondary cough (fingers crossed) but I still feel like crap. I hate coughing. I hate not being able to sleep. Combine that with a toddler that wanted to play, please, Momma, at 4:50AM and today is so not fun.

I've shifted my knitting focus because I'm fickle and can't remain faithful to any project in order to get it finished by a deadline. I've put aside the secret prezzie, which will be transferred from the "christmas present" pile into the "valentines/birthday/someday in the future" pile. The cascade on the bamboo needles isn't kind to my hands, so I switched back to the CPH. The knitpicks doesn't stick on the needles I'm using for the sweater, and it's at a strangely more comfortable gauge. I'm such a wuss.

I was hoping to do more baking posts, but then again, I was also hoping to do more baking this weekend. We'll see what happens later in the week with the Thanksgiving holiday...

And now I'm off in search of caffeine. Only 1.25 more hours till I can pick up my boys ♥

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Whoops!

Got on a roll (knitting, not baking), and have no appreciable progress for it... so we'll count this as Sunday's post even though I'm clicking on Monday morning first thing

(A baby waking up over night will do that to you)
;-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Respect the bird

I've come to agree with Bezzie - when in Rome and all that jazz - so I'm going to respect the dead bird and wait til next weekend to do the decorating... You Amurricans love your turkey day... Which means only laundry and vacuuming for entertainment today, at least for a little while longer.

That being said, it was a fabulous morning, that came about because of a bunch of coincidences yesterday.

I went to pick N. up at daycare, and saw a flyer on the daycare bulletin board for a new yarn store in our neighborhood... there aren't ever interesting flyers on that bulletin board, so I was intrigued. I was confused, though, because the new store is barely half a block away (and across the street) from the old one.

I then ran into one of Hubby's labmates, who happens to knit occasionally but has many knitting friends, and before I got the chance to ask her about the store, she invited me to their newly formed knitting group :-) I couldn't go last night because of the last-minute-ness, but I really hope they'll have it again... I guess everyone else pretty much ended up having to study last night anyway, but I'm hopeful.

So, I decided on the way out to ask her about this new yarn store. I'm pretty sure she hadn't been there, but had heard good things. Combine that with my day off today, and I had a little excursion after dropping N. at daycare. And, I discovered that I LOVE this new store. LOVE.

I feel guilty about it, but only a little. The old store is tiny, and their organizational scheme sucks - most of the stuff is by color, with lots of yarns mixed together in cubbies. Noro has its own shelves, but they're scattered, and the sock yarn and baby yarn is thrown in a corner. They don't put pricetags on ANYTHING, and it's so difficult to just browse and get ideas because you can fall in love with something not knowing it's $20 for 185 yards of fingering. They also mainly carry stock that's high-mid range to high range. No super luxury to dream about, very little laceweight, and no practical (gasp) acrylic blends for servicable baby/kid clothes. It got to the point that I was doing most of my shopping online or at my mom's on vacation.

The new store is slightly bigger, organized by BRAND, then color, and they cover the gamut - pretty-yet-super-washable acrylic blends all the way up to cashmere and silk laceweight yarns with pricetags to match (o.u.c.h.). Everything is clearly labelled, and they also carry a huge amount of giftware and notions. The old store had no split ring stitch markers, or coiless safety-pin type markers (and the girl I asked had no idea what I was talking about when I asked her). The new store has tonnes. Not to mention custom-painted mugs, little project kits, and bags galore.

They're also going to start carrying roving and maybe do some spinning classes. It's not like I need a new hobby, but I would love to learn how to use a drop spindle, you know, just in case an occasion called for it.

I understand there's always room for competition; for people who have cars there are lots of choices in our area. For me, though, I needed to have this option; the old store was the only place I could walk to. I really hope the new store does well, though, and I'll support them as much as I can. Today I couldn't choose any yarn even after a half hour of squishing skeins (for example, they have Artyarns, Madelinetosh, Mission Falls, and lots of other yummy things, but I was overwhelmed). Instead I bought their only copy of Vintage Baby Knits, because I loved knitting the Stella Pixie hat, and I couldn't resist.

(aside: there ain't no babies up in heah, but I'm getting the baby itch again... so I figured after Christmas I could start knitting before starting any babies, and get ahead of the game this time).

And then I came home to do laundry and laundry and laundry, and then vacuum and sweep and get the dishes done. But, no complaints from me; I have a new pattern book to skim with my apres-lunch coffee ;-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

To decorate (now) or not to decorate (yet). That is the question.

I can't be the only crazy one.

I've been trying to decide when to start putting up our Christmas decorations, because we're going all out this year. This is only the second time in my life I haven't been home, and it's the first year we won't be visiting any family (there was one disastrous Christmas at my mother-in-law's place that we use as the standard for shitty Christmasses).

We've completed the shopping, the gifts are waiting to be wrapped, and I've managed to gather up enough paraphernalia to make the apartment look like Santa went on a bender. The question is, when?

I have friends on crackbook that have already put up their trees, and it's so tempting. This weekend we have no outings planned, no really huge work projects that have to get done, no papers to write. Just some frantic knitting (some people's gifts are going to be post-holiday presents, I think; I've just got to accept it), and some cleaning.

Wreaths? Lights? Or tree?

Or should I just say screw it and bake more cookies, because I'm a glutton for punishment?

*<[];o{> (that kind of looks like Santa, right?)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drive-by blogging with pictures

...but not of cookies*

I think this shows all the different patterns I made, minus one colossal failure that is sitting on a shelf.
The lower left/right pattern is so easy I've made dozens. They look best in very light, sparkly glitter.


These are all that same pattern, but with different shades of glitter. I thought I'd like the darker ones, but they're just overwhelming. N. likes them, though, so I put them up in the hallway to his room so he can visit them.

Yo, bitch, you stole my shirt idea. What up.

*The cookies are being abandoned. I'm not going to bother taking the time to fill them in different colors when I'm not happy with the finished look. I may try again with a different icing technique, but I might stick with more traditional cookies instead. Cookies are the bane of my existence.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cookie FAIL, photo FAIL.

Ever hear the phrase, "Your eyes are bigger than your belly?" Well, when it comes to taking on baking and decorating projects, my ambition often falls into this category.

Last night's cookies were yet another shining failure. I'd bought a Wilton cookie pan with cavities for molded cookies, and it is adorable. Ten different Christmas cookies, with very simple designs that seemed easy to decorate. So I baked up some sugar cookies and sat down to decorate.

Then I thought, wow, it's 8pm. Maybe I'll just outline in white and fill in with poured icing tomorrow.

After working for 45 minutes, the cookies were outlined in white, my hand was transformed into a paralytic claw and everything looks like ass. No photos yet, though. I'll try and document the next step.

The good news is that the cookies tasted really good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yum, cookies

So, I have the second pan of cookies in the oven; I'm channelling my mom and baking my Christmas cookies early to put in the freezer.... I have no photos, though, because the damn battery on the camera died this morning.

While I was trying to take more photos of my snowflakes. I just can't win.

I did have my phone with me yesterday, though, and thought to snap a pic of my latte:


This is from a new cafe in our neighborhood that opened as the latest soldier in our market wars. There are two families that used to have one little market, but some scandals involving affairs and wives and other such stuff caused one to break off from the other. Now they're playing dueling coffee shops, too, but from this latte I can say that the neighborhood is winning. They've only been open a month, and they're staffed with the usual college students, but they're training these kids up well. I didn't need that splenda in my latte - it was the most wonderful, smooth, delicious authentic latte I've ever had. And they do latte art :-) The other weekend we stopped in for a cookie, and I ended up trying a shortbread baked with earl grey tea leaves, and it was fragrant, buttery goodness.

Off to check on the cookies...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I missed yesterday, and today isn't going to be much better, I'm afraid.

We had a busy Saturday, finished all the Christmas shopping 100%, and collapsed into bed.

Today we went for a vaccination, had the BEST latte ever, and then N. proceeded to refuse to eat everything except cheerios.

But, not a bad day as far as Sundays go.

Tomorrow I'm home, so we'll see what I can come up with.

Friday, November 13, 2009

If you can't say somethin' nice...

... don't say nothin' at all. (YouTube link)

So I won't say anything. I can't.

Y'all will forgive me for another silent day, I hope. It's dark and it's raining, and the little I have to give today needs to go to my boys.

Back soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Depression, the sequel

(I promise this theme won't last).

My heart broke a million times last night - My friend G. has been in the hospital since Monday, and it took three days for her body to finally begin letting go. Her sister L. is in shreds, and their mother is trying to hold it together for them. I'm hoping she can finally start to grieve, rather than playing this macabre waiting game. My mom is waiting in the wings to go in when they need her; we've lived two doors down from these girls for 31 years.

31 years.

I know my mom is sitting at home, seeing two things at once. She sees the little girls she used to watch, who'd come over to our house for Kraft Dinner (a Canadian term, I'm told), who painted fingers and toes purple and pink. And, she sees grown women, mothers, still connected after all these years. We've reconnected since having our kids, and knowing we're still there for each other through time and distance is something Mom was always proud to talk about.

It's funny. Lately I've been reading a lot of SF, two series from one particular author, and he's fond of mixing "science" with psychic phenomena. He often uses this one particular characteristic in his human/oids called affinity; genetically engineered psychic connections between families, populations, or all members of a planet's race. You feel all pain that your brother feels, physical and mental, but you also share the burden of it.

Emailing back and forth with L. last night, I could sense that it was giving her comfort, although I can't for the life of me figure out how or why. Their suffering is infinite right now, and nothing can touch it, but she got some small measure of peace in hearing from me, and writing back.

If I can do that for her - give her a split second of quiet in her mind, however fleeting - I feel like I'm giving back something that so many people have given me during tough times, passing on the karma. And, knowing there are readers (reader? :-) ) and lurkers out there who are taking the time to read this, and maybe just giving a thought to me, or my friend, or their own friends or family going through impossible times, gives me immeasurable comfort.

Thanks for that.

(Tomorrow, I promise I'll try to get back to something more light and fun if I can. I'm finishing up my Christmas shopping this weekend, and I hope to get all the gifts photographed soon and off in the mail.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This post is extremely depressing.

This post has nothing to do with my normal blog, but it's the only way I have to deal with this shit while sitting at work thousands of miles away from most of my family and friends, feeling absolutely helpless. It's horrible and depressing and I can't apologize for it, because I need to work it out in my own head.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are many people at home right now who are pregnant. I've been following them through email and facebook and stories from my mother, who has been attending their baby showers and eagerly talking with the grandmas-to-be. Several of them are very close childhood friends of mine, and there are even a few first babies.

This morning, after sitting down at my desk at work, I got an email from the sister of one of my elementary school best friends. My friend just lost her baby, less than a week before her due date. They've been monitoring her since very early on, it was a high-risk pregnancy but it seemed to improve and settle in. And then this happened.

I know there's nearly always a biological reason behind these tragedies. I understand that, intellectually. But the pain I feel for her is beyond logic or reason, and I can't imagine the pain she and her husband are feeling. I try to imagine, to take some of the burden for her, and I literally collapse. I feel so sick to my stomach.

Loving people is hard work, and it's a guarantee of pain. It is. I remember each and every time I was short with my husband, and I feel guilty. I think about the times I lose patience with N., even if I only get frustrated inside my head, and I feel guilty. Then I feel guilty because I didn't feel guilty at the time it was happening. I think about the times when they were sick and I couldn't make everything better instantaneously, and I'm reminded that I won't always be able to make everything better with a kiss and a hug. I want to take everyone I love and wrap them up in cotton and bubblewrap and packing peanuts and keep them tucked up safe.

But I can't. And it hurts. Almost too damn much to bear.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Flu Watch: Day 12

I hate the fact that I decided to do NaBloPoMo and promptly fell sick. Hate it. I wish I was working more on my projects, but I haven't any extra energy. Today has been particularly bad, and I think Hubby is heading into the thick of it. He's having his first round of exhaustion, I'm starting my second. Luckily so far N. is ok; just the cough left, and it's not bad (fingers crossed).

We're going to complete our Christmas prep this weekend; a last round of gift additions to buy, and get in the mail, and then it'll just be wrapping and decorating and baking. The past few years I've only done my mom's raspberry shortbreads, so I think I should branch out. I'd like to do a cake, but I'm not sure how I want to decorate it yet. So many decisions.

I haven't heard from daycare today, so I'm assuming N. is having a good day; hopefully that'll translate into a good night again. Even with the flu, he's been a champ at bedtime - he's finally aware of what it means, and is starting to like to snuggle under his blanket when I put him down.

*sigh*. I hate having such a foggy brain and disconnected thoughts. If I can survive this workweek, I'll be fine. I just keep telling myself that. ;-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Two 20' incubations this afternoon... wahoo!

Yay for incubation time.

I have nothing to report on the fibery front; not much time to do anything towards completing Christmas gifts lately. I hope to get some in tonight when N. goes to bed, but there's a damn lot of cleaning that needs to be done too. I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that there are going to be projects that go on the back burner if I'm going to get everything else in the mail on time. Mom's scarf is probably not going to make it for Christmas, and I'm worried about the secret prezzie for my Goddaughter. But, I don't want to dwell.

So, I will entertain with random pictures.

N. working on his "drawrings".


High-fives for Daddy at the pub for lunch.


N. wanted to gather some leaves when we were out for a walk. He's 18 months in this photo.


We celebrated 1 1/2 years with a 1/2 cake. He discovered he lurrrrves chocolate cake and frosting ;-)

I never met a hydrangea I didn't like. This is an unenhanced photo; I adore the purply-blue.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Christmas shopping is done

And I am poor. Like my blogging.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Am I over the flu if I'm well enough to go to Ikea?

Almost. And I almost bought a Christmas wreath decorated with balls of red yarn. Until I saw it was $60!! Time to make my own, I suppose ;-)

But now, it's time for bed. SO tired.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gawd.

This flu is kicking my ass. N. is better (thank heavens) but I feel like absolute crap. Today was worse than yesterday, too; we went for a walk and it damn near killed me.

Hopefully tomorrow will be an improvement. It's hard to lug around a 28lb child when you can't really move.

Ugh.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The F-word

Well, that didn't last.

N. was fine yesterday and last night during dinner, after which he promptly pitched the worst tantrum and then started crying. Temp: 102.3 out of nowhere. We've now officially been diagnosed as a flu family.

Hubby is still feeling well for the time being, but I'm home again today and probably tomorrow with the little guy (shared with Hubs).

And, at my last job I so would've gone to work and gave 'em all hell, because most of the people on my floor drove me nuts, but this time the only people close to my work area are super nice and have small children. So, I was altruistic yesterday, and will be for the rest of the week.

If I end up going in tomorrow, I'll wear a mask, and probably only do a couple of hours. I actually feel worse today; even though I've been fighting this thing for 5-6 days, it seems to be peaking now. I'm hoping N. doesn't have a drawn-out illness; he seems happy today and his temp is down a bit.

Blech. Blech blech blech. I think I'll wait till he falls asleep and then take a quick nap myself.

Oh, and today is my wedding anniversary ;-) Fun way to celebrate, don'tcha think?

;-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The benefits of a part-time job with a wonderful boss

It means I could stay home today.

I don't know yet if I have a bad cold or the flu, but I'm not going to be the bastard that goes to work sick and infects everyone (not to mention the daycare). N. is still feeling pretty good (fingers crossed) and so is Hubby, so this morning I got up, got them packed, sent them on the bus and crawled back into bed.

I will have to work tomorrow and Friday, and I didn't have the energy to do laundry today, so the weekend's going to be backed up. But, I have no complaints. I'm so grateful I have the flexibility to do this when I need to.

Not much knitting, but I'm doing some pinning, and I hope I'll be able to get some more done later this afternoon. I have about three weeks before I should be getting everything in the mail; not sure I'll make it, but we'll see.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaBloPoMo scheduling

Mondays and/or Fridays are going to present a blogging problem. If I stay home for those days it's fine, since I have access to internets and laptops and coffee and all those good things.

If I end up coming into campus those days, I usually leave my laptop at home, hence no internets. Yesterday was crazy busy, and even included parent-teacher during the afternoon (at 18 months, it's quite hilarious). Because we of course talked about how N. is an angel during the day, and they have never seen evidence of his attitude, he decided to bring it out full force from the busride home and well into the evening. So, once he was in bed, the dishes were loaded, everything cleaned and packed for the morning, I did a 30-second post and collapsed into bed.

What it comes down to is that I reserve the right to plead scheduling if I miss the occasional Monday or Friday. Tues-Thurs are easy to fit in during breaks/enzyme incubations/running gels/science geeky things.

(One of the fun things that did happen yesterday that I meant to write about was how we rode the bus home with Silent Bob from the yarn store. He has a real name, and he's anything but silent - he's also an opera singer and general all-round great vocalist, and he's so much fun to talk to. He works weekdays, and I often run into him when I go there for last minute necessities on Fridays, and now he takes our bus. We had a grand old chat about everything from knitting to language development in children this time!)

I'm hoping to get more flakes glued and sparkled tonight, because I need to put them aside and work on the secret prezzie for my goddaughter. By my best estimation, it's about 60-70% done, and I need to have time to felt it (which is a clue, I know, but what can you do).

Time for tea and more enzyme incubations.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Today's tally

Four small snowflakes, one large snowflake, lots of tea with lemon and honey.

Ugh.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1st

I'm going to try and do NaBloPoMo... and have no knitting/crochet stuff to blog about on the first day. So, a short bulleted list:

  • Think I *might* have some form of flu. It's not a cold (I know that much), but it's not a severe case, either. Here's hoping for a mild, immunity-inducing case of the oinker version.
  • Took down the Halloween decorations, because it was a non-Halloween Halloween in our house. No trick-or-treaters, no real costumes, no watching Charlie Brown (boo hoo). N. had a pumpkin shirt, and we ate pumpkin cake (holy Yum, batman, it was good).
  • Have a large pot of cock-a-leekie soup on the stove, and it smells so freakin good. Am I a food geek if I get overly excited when a bunch of three leeks give me over 15" EACH of usable white part?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Haven't picked up a needle or hook since early Friday

Sigh. I wonder if I'm coming down with something. After pinning out those flakes and getting a few rounds done on the secret prezzie, I gave up. My brain is fuzzy, and I don't have the energy to work on anything. Hence the rambly posts.

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be nice so we're hoping to get a walk in again; I'll have to remember to take something in my bag when we go, and take advantage of some sit-down time at the bookstore cafe (our favourite Sunday hangout). We did go out today, but instead of coffee, we went for lunch after mailing off the first round of Christmas parcels. Not much knitting time, though.

As for Hallowe'en, well, we didn't get any trick-or-treaters tonight, which is good, since I wasn't about to run down four flights of stairs everytime the bell rang. We bought chocolate just in case, so I'll just have to make the sacrifice and eat it myself.

But now, it's time for sleep... kids with no concept of time also have no concept of 'sleeping in', so I don't expect to gain an hour tonight. Ah, the good old sleep-in-till-1pm days... I don't really miss them, when I consider I have this to look forward to every morning:

(He loves "punkies")

Friday, October 30, 2009

PEEKSHURES!


Finished flake from the other day #1 (the glitter is pink but the light sucks)

Pink flake #2

The worktable.
Clockwise frombottom left:
six freshly glued and pinned, seven waiting to be pinned (center),
Cheerios from this morning, assorted stoneware,
half-empty splenda packets (because a whole one is too much),
half-used ball of crochet cotton, glitter up the yin-yang, and pins/glue/needles.


All the different colors of glitter I needed to have on hand.

Glitter Xtreme Closeup

:-)

Thought the better of it...

Had a rant nearly done, but decided not to post it. It's Friday, and I'm going to try and keep it positive round these parts.

While I'm supposed to be cleaning and doing laundry, I'm going to try and take some photos and do some more knitting and crocheting today... Holiday deadlines are coming up waaaaay too soon.

I probably have enough snowflakes done (not starched yet) to handle all the gifts I wanted to give, but I might make a few more. What remains is the secret Goddaughter present and Mom's stinkin' scarf. I can't bring myself to work on either very often, but I have to really make it work.

But, first, the laundry goes in the machine. Then I have a 35 minute break ;-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mishmash

I'm think going to try to do NaBloPoMo next month, just to see if I can... I had a little bit of a stretch going, but let it go again. So, this is my challenge, to go along with the Christmas knitting/crochet I promised I'd do.

And since I have to wait for enzyme buffer to thaw, I'm going to start posting today ;-)

I've been working a little bit on the prezzie for my Goddaughter, but it's being neglected in favour of crochet snowflakes. I'm suffering hugely from KADD lately, and getting out to shop isn't helping. I started off with a MSL free pattern, which included instructions for four different snowflakes, at a fairly moderate level of difficulty (probably advanced beginner). I made three of them, one of which was such a pain in the ass to pin out and starch that I'll never do it again, and thought, "gee, these other two are easy, I'll just make more of them". Then we went out shopping on the weekend with Hubs' aunt and uncle and I went into one of the big box craft stores... to get glitter for said snowflakes... and came out with a pattern booklet called "99 snowflakes to crochet".

(In my defense, it was on super sale, and only cost somewhere around $5.)

Some of them are ridiculous, more like frilly horrible doilies, and there are four, five, six, seven, eight, ten, and twelve pointed ones; being a geek I have a moral objection to making something that's pentagonal in symmetry and calling it a snowflake. Ice crystals are hexagonal, dammit. There are a few cute ones that look like proper snowflakes, though, and some are significantly smaller than the two I was doing originally. I can make a small one in 10 minutes (rather than a large one in 3o'), and they're easier to memorise. I now have eight waiting to be starched/glued/sparkled (after having bling'd up six last night).

Here's a crappy pic of one of the original ones I did:

The apartment seems hugely bright, but the light is too diffuse to get a decent pic without a flash most of the time... I'll try on the weekend.

I still really need to finish Mom's scarf, but I'm having too much fun with the snowflakes. Maybe it's because I know I can play with glitter every few days.

I also have a bit of a ranty rant about daycare (actually, about daycare parents), but I'll leave it for another post. The buffer is defrosted, and I want to be able to take lunch ;-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Out of titles, clever or otherwise

I'm not sure why I'm posting this, and I don't know if I'll leave it up. I'm just really not in a good place tonight. Mom finally filled me in a bit more on how my grandmother is doing, and her Alzheimers is advancing. Her confusion is much greater, and I don't know how long it'll be safe for her to stay in her home anymore. There are too many stairs in my parents' split level, and no bathrooms on the main floor. We don't know how this is going to play out. I think they've been keeping the details quiet, and just telling me the funny stories, because no one is ready to deal with the next step.

She's forgetting my little brother. She thinks the reason she's alone in her house is because people are all going around behind her back. She doesn't remember that my dad doesn't live with her anymore. She gets angry and frustrated, and I'm sure she spends a lot of time wondering where she is, scared and in the dark.

What the next step is, or when it will happen, I'm not sure. It's not my decision. I hurt for her, for my mom and dad, for my brothers, for myself.

Where have her memories gone, now that she's not able to access them? Where are those days when we were kids, when Dad was a baby, when she was a young woman? The things we don't know, that only she knows(/knew)?

Will she get them back, someday?


ETA: I didn't post this last night when I'd intended, because the universe conspired against me. Temper tantrums gave way to bathtime which gave way to unfortunate incidents in the bath that necessitated a two-pronged approach involving much more soap for N. and bleach for the tub. And, while I'm calmer on the outside today, I'm not better. Not by a longshot.

ETA #2 (Thurs 2pm): Turns out she has a UTI... for those who don't know, while a UTI is agony for most people, some seniors are completely asymptomatic except for an
increase in confusion. It's not a solution, and it doesn't mean she's not declining, but it's something that we can deal with right now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ABC Meme

THE ABC’S OF ME

A – ADVOCATE FOR: health care, affordable and available childcare, working parents

B – BEST FEATURE: eyes, sense of humour

C – COULD DO WITHOUT: those extra lbs, the exhaustion, the insane hypersensitivity to everything around me causing me to be one giant walking itchy hive

D – DREAMS & DESIRES: move home, get a 9-5, watch my kid grow up

E – ESSENTIAL ITEMS: internet, cellphone, knitting, tv

F – FAVORITE PAST TIME: reading/knitting/tv/sleeping

G – GOOD AT: baking, knitting, being dr phil

H – HAVE NEVER TRIED: skydiving, general risk-taking

I – IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS: buy a house, RESPs, and travel

J – JUNKIE FOR: caaaake, yarn, caaaaaaaaake

K – KINDRED SPIRIT: my boys, for sure

L – LITTLE KNOWN FACT: I love reading science fiction (most of my friends irl don't know)

M – MEMORABLE MOMENT: N. being born, getting married, getting my PhD

N – NEVER AGAIN WILL I: encourage anyone to go into grad school

O – OCCASIONAL INDULGENCE: cake, shoes, craft supplies (I buy yarn too often for it to be "occasional")

P – PROFESSION: Mom, scientist

Q – QUOTE: (today, I can't think of anything)

R – REASON TO SMILE: My boys.

S – SORRY ABOUT: being lazy and self-absorbed

T -THINGS THAT ARE WORRYING YOU RIGHT NOW: My grandmother (Alzheimers), my great uncle (MRSA + congestive heart failure)

U – UNINTERESTED IN: the olympics, ironing, cleaning my apartment.

V – VERY SCARED OF: bugs, being alone, enclosed spaces.

W – WORST HABITS: lazy about straightening up, lazy in the mornings, lazy in general... oh, and the hours of TV.

X – X MARKS MY IDEAL VACATION SPOT: I haven't really gone too many exotic places, so I can't say for sure. I'd like to go somewhere sunny, and I'd like to go to France.

Y – YUMMIEST DESSERT: Cake in any form, if it involves frosting. I also make a mean cheesecake, and créme brulée

Z – ZODIAC SIGN: Taurus, and I'm a classic example. Stubborn and boorish, fiercely loyal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pics, not all of knitting

Knitting first, baby gate pics second (don't ask, it won't make sense unless you're Bezzie)

Pixie hat, which looks butt ugly unless it's on a head...

The button matches the orange in this yarn exactly, but you can't seem to see the orange in the photos...

N. was NOT happy being asked to model the hat; this is the best shot I could get...
but it did fit his big ass head, so that bodes well for my niece.

Specs to come tomorrow... ish...

And, these are for Bezzie:
Five panels, tied to each other on the rear-left to make a wonky pentagon;
the cords go inside the mesh at the back to get to the TV and acoutrements,
and N. can't get in the back no matter how he tries.


Radiator and closet set-up (note knitting bag on the right inside the safety of the gates)


The rope on this side starts in an eye hook, and is around the shelf for extra stability,
since when N. rattles them you can just imagine him yelling "earthquake!!!!!"


Close-up of my crappy knots, but you can see the eye-hook/loopy thing screwed into the wall.


Twine wrapped around the hinge and tied inside the closet.

So, yes, totally do-able if you can tie rope into your baby gates somehow. You can probably find those fences on Craigslist (I think they're called Superyard XT or something) - I remember the reviews being not so nice so people might be trying to offload them, but they do the job for us quite well.

Should've known it was connected to a raffle

I just got an email from the daycare center... I guess this portraiture thing is connected to a raffle that they're holding at the potluck... so I didn't have to pass in the form after all, because it seems like they'll just take a photo of the child that wins.

Way to overreact, Ellie ;-)

Maybe I'll even buy some tickets... just to be a pain in the butt.

A Monday-Tuesday rambly rant

Today is Tuesday, but with the holiday yesterday it's more like a Monday for me, and boy is it a Monday. I'm going to rant, so you can ignore the ranty rambly bits if you want.

I've been waiting for some strains to be mailed to me so I can start the next phase of my project at work, and the company that's supposed to send them has been full of excuses. First they said they couldn't send them because of postal restrictions on sending live organisms (so bullshit because how else is science done? We send strains all the time). Then they were willing to send us more DNA from those strains, but not the strains themselves (come on - it's easier to send the strain then to take the time on their end to grow it and prep it and then send the DNA). THEN they said they'd send them. That was two weeks ago. This is a custom strain they built for us, and then they sequenced the DNA. They had sent us the sequence, and a little bit of DNA, two months ago. I think they lost the original strain they built and are scrambling to build it again, but just won't tell us. For $3000, they damn well better tell us soon.

Then, I had to deal with a daycare situation that I'm none too happy about. Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE daycare, LOVE the teachers, LOVE how much my little boy grows up because of the stimulation and environment and friends he has there. But, it's to do with money and soliciting, and it's the second incident in a year. A few months ago, there was an incident with raffle tickets that was thrown on me with no info, I was told to sell them or I had to pay the $100, and it peeved me off when I'm already paying shcmashmorschmishyhundreds of dollars in tuition each month. When I refused to sign a contract saying I would pay (since I hadn't any other information, had no idea what the raffle was for, they just shoved a piece of paper and told to sign or else), there was a miscommunication with an employee who ended up telling the director we "didn't care about the emails and newsletters or the center's fundraising". It got cleared up, but it was still uncomfortable for a while. Luckily we're all friends again, I still love the center and the director, and it's all good.

Until this morning - we got a flyer that "detailed" (I use the term loosely) how an artist representing a company in Spain (Spain? seriously?) who would be at our annual parents & kids potluck and would take photos of all the kids. Then they do the whole charcoal-drawings of your beautiful babies, etc etc, and you can buy the drawings. The problem - the flyer stated "more info on the poster at your child's school", and we had to sign a form to opt OUT instead of opt IN. If I hadn't a good grasp of English, I would've missed that, and my child would've been photographed by an international company without my permission. The other problem was that there was NO info anywhere at the center. No website, no US phone number (but one in Barcelona, thank you very much), no price lists. The icing on the cake was that the director of the daycare didn't have any information either! She claimed the prices "depend on the number of faces", which is possible, but I've seen these types of artists websites for US companies, and they give the price per face. Not a difficult thing to do. She had no idea of the procedure, any other contact info, nothing.

It doesn't happen often, but it really upsets me when they let companies solicit like that. In our original contract it states clearly that if there are any people coming into the daycare to observe (it's a teaching hospital, and a university, after all), we are notified in writing ahead of time and given the chance to OPT IN. But with a company selling something, our permission is given ahead of time on our behalf and we have to opt out? How frigged up is that?

So, yeah, I'm annoyed. I opted out, but didn't give the director a piece of my mind because she's really sweet and really does have a lot to deal with. I just sit and stew instead.

I also realized I forgot to dump my camera last night, and don't have any pics of my finished pixie hat on my hard drive yet, so I can't post them. I did finish two different crocheted snowflakes on the weekend, too, and they're waiting to be glued and sparkled, but I have to remember to take photos of the before and after.

It's not all doom and gloom, though - it's sunny, N. slept in until 7:45am (after one wet-diaper wake-up at 5:00am), and while I forgot to eat breakfast, or pack lunch, I have a wad of singles in my pocket and can get something at the caf for lunch. I also have a book and some yarn in my backpack, and it's hard to be pissy with that. I brought Mom's Boteh as my only portable project, so I have to get that finished next. I was sorely tempted just to take the crochet cotton and make more snowflakes, but I would just be avoiding the Boteh, and I need to get it done.

*sigh* time to make busy until lunch. I'd really rather be doing work, I hate being at a standstill.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving at home, and I'm lucky enough to get the day off because it's Columbus Day down here. It doesn't herald the shopping madness in Canada that it does here (OMG you people and your Black Friday, you're nuts), but we do eat turkey and give thanks for everything we have.

Today I'm thankful for:

  • N., being a great boy today during our visit to everyone at the lab
  • Having a part-time position that lets me take today off while N.'s daycare was closed
  • Hubby, because he was so excited that we came into lab to have lunch with him
  • Long toddler naps in the afternoon
  • Finishing at least one of my holiday knitted/crocheted gifts (pics of the pixie hat to come soon)
  • Relatives calling to offer to take us carless folk out next weekend, not only for the ability to buy groceries on the cheap, but so we can take them out for lunch to thank them ;-)
  • Family and friends, here and at home, online and off ♥
Happy Thanksgiving/Columbus Day!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Today, I knit.

So, I still work part time, and I still have theoretically two days off per week. There's still a part of me that hates not being on campus on those days, because I send N. to daycare. It's a full-time spot, and I don't like disrupting his routine. Plus, I often get extra done at work (for no pay and sometimes no recognition). Hubby tells me to stay home, so I try. I can get the laundry and the cleaning done without a little one underfoot, which I really appreciate is the holy grail for working moms and dads. And, it's so nice to see them coming up the stairs at the end of the day, with my little boy grinning from ear to ear because he sees Momma. So, yes, it's been laundry, cleaning, vacuuming.

Today, however... today, I knit.

The little pixie hat for my niece is nearly done; the body has been knit and seamed, and I'll do the neck band today. The mystery gift for my Goddaughter is probably about 40% done. If I have to order good movies on Comcast to keep my butt in that chair I will because today, I knit.

(I totally just typed "today, I knot". I hope (k)not. Groan.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Three more things...

1. How cute is my kid?

Seriously.

2. How cute is Hubby? N. woke up super early one morning last week (like, 4:30am) and Hubs took him to the other room so I could sleep some more... I thought they'd sit and read books and play, but I woke up to find this:


SO cute.

3. (and possibly totally unrelated) Take your best homemade mac n cheese recipe (comment if you don't have one, and I'll give you one), the good one where you make a roux, and use good sharp cheddar, and only go through the trouble once in a while... take that same recipe and add 1/2 - 1 lb thinly sliced, sauteed mushrooms and as much cooked and crumbled bacon as you can conscience. DO IT. You'll thank me.

The road to hell

The holiday knitting.

In the past, I've been a sporadic holiday knitter. One year I wanted to make socks for Mom (and didn't get them finished until the following May). Last year (or maybe it was the year before) I made little decorations for my Goddaughter and her brothers for their Christmas tree. I used to work on one project at a time, two at most.

This year, I'm ramping up.

I'd still like to finish the CPH before it gets really cold, and I'm pretty much done the back panel, but I have to put it aside. I have other plans:

  1. A secret gift for my Goddaughter (Hi C.! Don't know if you're reading, but I'm not posting spoilers!), which I started on a whim and looks like it'll be pretty cool
  2. A hat for my niece, which is hopefully going to be adorable (I even found the perfect button)
  3. The Boteh for Mom that's been 60% done for two months, and I'll be damned if I screw up getting her gifts finished this time
  4. Crochet snowflake ornaments for N.'s teachers (because dammit, crochet, I will never let you scare me again... and because I found glitter at JoAnn on the weekend, and I lurves me some sparkly. Spaaaaaaarrrrrkly!)
The Goddaughter-mystery-gift is ~25% done, the niece-hat is ~75% done, the mom-scarf is ~60% done, and the snowflakes aren't started... which is ok, because I have time for the snowflakes but the rest have more pressing deadlines....

The most depressing decision of my life has been made, and we're staying here for the holidays for work/contract timing reasons (more on that later, and, waaaahhhh). In terms of projects, it means that family gifts need to be mailed home, whereas teacher gifts can be finished last. I'm trying to do portable projects at work on lunchbreak (hat, scarf), slightly larger projects at home in the evenings (mystery gift, CPH), and the complicated stuff during N.'s naptime on the weekends so I can concentrate a bit (snowflakes).

I figure I'll come to regret my decision to try and get all this done, but I will try. I wish I didn't work in a BL2 lab, otherwise I'd knit at my desk during incubations... but Health & Safety might have an issue with that, considering I can't even bring a bottle of water in here ;-)

On that rambly note, I have to start up some cultures... and get ready for tomorrow's experiments (one of which involves a lot of 15-30 minute incubation times, damn you biohazard work!). I'll try and get some pics of everything soon...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tired much?

This morning was so funny... We were getting off the bus, and stopping to chat with the driver (all three who do that run are so nice)... who immediately starts exclaiming how bright and pretty and green my eyes are.

(Context: She's a fiery Latina from Guatemala, maybe 40 years old, who stands 4'11" with her 4-inch espadrilles on, and wears miniskirts and carries a different handbag every day whilst driving a full-sized juiced up brand new city bus. She also happens to love N. and gets all hyper whenever she sees us. She's very squeaky and adorable.)

The difference this morning? I actually took 5 minutes to put in my contact lenses, and put on eyeshadow and mascara.

At least somebody noticed ;-)

ETA 9/23/09: The departmental secretary did the same thing this morning... I know I should take it as a compliment, but holy crap ;-)

Friday, September 18, 2009

some random photos

So, N. is asleep, which is shocking considering he's been a tantrum machine the past week or so (but only at home, never at daycare). He went down without a peep, and Hubby is in the other room configuring his new laptop (yay). So, I will post pictures and probably zone out in front of the TV for a bit (no knitting - got a flu shot today and it HURTS, dammit!)

My first attempts at thread crochet edging.
I'm a sucker for multicolored anything, but concede that these are probably best done in a solid color...


N. going for a ride in the wagon my dad built when we were kids.

My boys ♥

On a completely unrelated (meme) note

(shamelessly stolen from a friend's facebook page)

1) Can you fill this out without lying? yup.

2) What was the last thing you put in your mouth? caffeine free diet coke

3) Where was your profile picture taken? back at my old apartment

4) Can you play guitar hero? likely not

5) Name someone that made you laugh today? N. and my friend N.

6) How late did you stay up last night and why? 11:00pm, watching Real Housewives of Atlanta

7) If you could move somewhere else, would you? Yessir; home, please.

8) Ever been kissed under fireworks? I do believe so.

9) Which of your friends lives closest to you? N. lives two doors down, and everyone else is 900 miles away.

10) Do you believe ex's can be friends? I only have one friend-ex; the rest would never be possible.

11) How do you feel about Dr. Pepper? Nope, not for me.

12) When was the last time you cried really hard? Leaving to come back here after vacationing at home.

13) Where are you right now? Home, at my desk.

14) What bed did you sleep in last night? Mine.

15) What was the last thing someone bought for you? Hubby bought me lunch.

16) Who was the last person you took a picture of? My boys ♥

17) Was yesterday better than today? Yes and no... I got a flu shot today and my arm hurts like a sonofabitch.

18) Can you live a day without TV? Truthfully, yes; did it when staying with the MIL, but it was hard.

19) Are you mad about anything? not really.

20) Are you upset about anything? meh.

21) Do you think relationships are ever really worth it? Definitely.

22) Are you a bad influence? Yes; I'm a shopaholic and need company often.

23) Night out or night in?? night in, with TV and wine and knitting.

24) What items could you not live without during the day? laptop, internet connection, cellphone.

25) Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? probably Grammie.

26) What does the last text message in your inbox say? yes

27) How do you feel about your life right now? pretty good.

28) Do you hate anyone? unfortunately, yes.

29) If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find? randomness

30) Has anyone ever called you perfect before? I think so

31) What song is stuck in your head? Beyonce's Single Ladies (*hangs head in shame*)

32) Someone knocks on your window at 2am, who do you want it to be? Someone giving me money.

33) Wanna have grandkids before you’re 50? No thank you.

34) Name something you have to do tomorrow? groceries.

35) Do you think too much or too little? too much.

36) Do you smile a lot? I don't know.

37) Who was your last missed call on your Mobile phone? my boss.

38) Is there something you always wear? wedding rings.

39) What were you doing 30 minutes ago? feeding N.

40) Did you have an exciting last weekend? we had a playdate.

41) Have you ever crawled through a window? yes.

42) Have you ever dyed your hair? way too much, enough to develop a severe allergy

43) Are you wearing a necklace / Chain? no.

44) Are you an emotional person? yes.

45) Will this weekend be a good one? hopefully.

46) What do you want right now? sleep.

47) Have you ever worn the opposite sex's clothing? Yes; dressed up as my brother for halloween one year.

48) Have you ever worked in a food place? No.

49) What's on your schedule for tomorrow? groceries, a walk downtown, some cleaning.

50) Does anyone know your facebook password? Nope, not that it's relevant on a blog...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A bit freaked out

So, of course life's gotten busy and things have gotten away from me somewhat. Nothing serious, and I've actually been knitting (cast on the CPH, finally, and might finish before the snow hits). It was the good kind of busy that you can sometimes lose yourself in, and it was a nice sort of status quo.

Until these past few days. Forgive me if this is cryptic or disjointed, but my brain isn't functioning properly. I know this happens to people every day, and I'm very lucky to only have to deal with it rarely, but it's too horrible, and processing it is frigging with my head.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was 14, I hadn't much to worry about. I got good grades, had a small but loyal group of friends, and life was pretty good. In the spring, we were looking forward for the weather to get nice enough to be able to walk downtown to go to Woolco (anybody remember Woolco?) and the local McDonalds. You could even see the golden arches from my grandmother's house, which was only a 15 minute walk from my house. She still lives there, and so do my parents, and it's much the same as it's always been.

One morning when I woke up and started to get ready for school, and I noticed that my parents were very quiet. There wasn't any clanking of spoons against cereal bowls, no yelling to my brothers, no discussion of the day's plans. When I got downstairs, my world was shattered in the most unexpected way.

The night before, some kids (probably about 18-19 years old) decided to try and rob the McDonalds. And, because it went wrong, they killed three people and left one to die. Those boys had gone to my school a few years before, they worked in my neighborhood. I'd had my 5th birthday party at that restaurant. I didn't know how to process it.

I went into shock that day; I remember feeling very disconnected from my body, almost like I was floating. I was crying, but it was like it was someone else. Mom and Dad went to work, but I stayed home with my grandmother. It took our community a long time to recover from it, and we never fully did. The building was torn down, and to this day it's the only patch of field not built on in that part of town.

They caught those boys, and they're serving their sentences. One is due for release in a few years, and I don't want to think about what that will mean for people at home.

So, what does this have to do with anything (aside from me possibly fingering my hometown and ruining my location anonymity)? Well, that feeling of shock and disconnect is pretty much all we feel at work here these days, and since there are so many damn news crews around, I'm not sure I haven't been broadcast across the globe by accident when I was just walking to the lab.

I work down the street from one of the top news stories that's going on right now. If you have a TV, you know the details, and you know where it is. Shit happens in this city all the time, but this one is so much more frightening. I rode the bus almost daily with the victim; she lived in my neighborhood. I have colleagues who worked with her. We drove by her lab all the time. For days we worried about walking from the bus stop to the lab, worried about whether some random nutjob was in our neighborhood. Because urban crime is a problem in this city, we didn't know if we'd lost the last bits of protection and safety that we thought we had by working in secure buildings at the uni.

Now that they have their 'person of interest', we know it's not a random crime. No one breached the security of our labs and offices, no one from the outside made it in. Good, right?

Not really. The devil is among us.

I know that all sounds dramatic, and our president made a similar statement about how no amount of security hardware can protect us from the darkness of the human soul when one decides to do something so evil. I get that it's melodramatic. But, it's true. You can only do so much. I also know that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I hope that everyone involved gets a fair and just trial, and that the proper people are punished.

I don't want to be afraid at work. I don't want to swipe in and start my work for the day, wondering if I've pissed anyone off enough for them to do something like this. I've got a pretty good thing going now - I can do my work and not worry about getting in anybody else's way, and if I screw up I don't risk other people's work. But most people around here work in teams, and I've seen conflicts fester over months and even years. Things that started off as minor annoyances, as differences in style, snowball into personal attacks and vendettas.

For the love of all that's good and holy, people, if you've got a beef with someone, talk about it. Keep the lines of communication open from the beginning and don't let things get this bad.

And hug your kids, spouses, pets, parents, friends. Be thankful. Love them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The last few minutes before the end of the day...

Picking up N. in 15 minutes, no experiments to rescue...

When we last saw the intrepid knitter (me) I was completely ignoring my extra-stitch-problem, and sleeping blissfully.

I got up on Sunday morning, went to church with the fam, and had a lovely lunch. Then N. went down (easily!) for his afternoon nap, and I took out the Aeolian again.

After about 15 minutes of staring, meditating, praying, cursing, and thinking, I figured out what happened. I'd missed grabbing the second stitch in a k2tog about 4 rows down, and somehow managed to pick it up without losing it. I have know idea how that happened, it should've been absorbed into the lifeline row somehow, but there it was.

(and, no, I didn't take photos, I was too stupid to take photos and too excited to get it fixed right away)

I droppped the stitch that was at the top of the column of the supposed k2tog, grabbed the loop immediately below and pulled it through both my extra stitch and my dropped stitch, making sure they were oriented properly. A little fancy crochet-hook laddering, and Voila! fixed Aeolian.

I stretched a couple of motifs out so I could make sure they looked the same, and all seemed fine. The decrease slant was in the right place, and I had the right number of stitches between all my stitch markers, finally.

I'm not sure how I managed to fix this, and I'm under no illusion that a) there will be no more mistakes or b) any possible mistakes will be this easy to fix, but I'm pretty proud of myself.

I just have to get back to working on it again ;-)

More on the rest of the vacation soon...

(I'm actually pretty desperate to get home and relax; today has been pretty crazy - I may have staved off unemployment for another few months with a contract extension [fingers crossed], Hubs had a good meeting with his boss about his latest project, and we had an appointment with oculoplastics for N. this morning about a blocked tear duct that turned out to finally resolve itself after 16 months. No surgery! Yay!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The last few minutes before lunch...

I'm such a bad scientist today. Lunch is in about 20 minutes, and since I haven't really got time to start anything big, I'm just going to blog instead...

I think my motivation is still on vacation.

So. Yes. Vacation. I suppose the best place to start is the beginning... I managed to get everything packed on time, and most of the laundry was done and put away before we left. A coup in my sad little life, I must say.

We woke up at 5am on Friday morning, and packed up the car while N. slept. The plan was to wake him up, change him into a dry nappie, and strap him in the car. Snacking in the car buys us happy time, so breakfast was on-the-go. We hit the asphalt at 6:15AM, only a few minutes later than planned.

I didn't start working on the Aeolian until I'd had at least two coffees and some breakfast of my own, because I needed to be alert, and sitting in the front seat while Hubby entertained the kiddo in the back. Once the conditions were met, I set things up. The chart (which I haven't memorized yet, even though it's pretty simple) ended up being taped to the visor pretty thoroughly since the windows were down. The humidex was hovering around 110F (44C), so there wasn't even a thought of keeping any of them up.

As we drove, the working yarn fluttered away to my left, and it wasn't too bad to handle all in all until I had to shift stitch markers. Juggling them without dropping any wasn't the easiest, but I managed.

Until I discovered an extra stitch. One that originated four or five rows down. Dammit. I had no idea how to fix it, so I bundled the thing back up and put it away.

After 10 hours of driving (and 2.5 hours in rest stops for the deliciousness that is the verboten Whopper), we showed up across the border to a motel for the night. N. wasn't too keen on sleeping in his playpen, so I couldn't sit and concentrate on it to figure out what was going on.

(And, incidently, about the whoppers - although I've definitely had my fill for the next year at least, I have to say how much I love the service plazas all along the I-95. I never get fast food, and the first couple of stops were seriously yummy. The last few were just too much, though, and we switched to healthy stuff).

So, Saturday morning we got up and piled in the car again for the second leg of our trip. I waited until properly caffeinated, and tried to look at that damn extra stitch. I spent 20 minutes staring at it, front and back, trying to figure out what the hell had gone wrong. No dice. Away it goes again.

We drove for 6 hours, and ended up in our old city to visit my best friend and her new baby (yay!) and meet up with my brother and sister-in-law to finally meet my 6-month-old niece in person (double YAY!). We had a great lunch, the baby cousins interacted in an explosion of cuteness, and then we were off for the last 5 hours of driving to my parents' place.

I tried looking at Aeolian again. And almost started crying. I *did* have a lifeline in place, but the thought of ripping out five rows and trying to re-thread the darn thing on the needles was so upsetting. I gave up, put it away and took out my crazy novel that I've been chipping away at and read until the sun went down.

We arrived at Mom & Dad's at around 9pm, and after some much-anticipated Grammie hugs for N., we put him to bed so I could show Mom the shawl and ask for advice. She took one look at the cobweb silk and told me I was nuts.

So, I did what I always do in situations like this.

I ignored it and went to bed ;-)

Monday, August 31, 2009

We survived.

More posts and pictures later; suffice it to say that after ~40 hours of driving there and back, concentrated into 3 or 4 days, I don't want to see a car again in a very long time. Those days on the road were hellish bookends to the most wonderful vacation I've had in many years.

(It wasn't that bad, though. Really. N. was a superb traveller for a toddler, and managed to charm people wherever we stopped.)

I managed to get a couple of repeats into the Aeolian Yucca charts (maybe 4?), and it's lots of fun, but not good car knitting. At least, not when you have no a/c and have to roll the windows down to keep from melting in the 40ºC heat. The wind plays havoc with cobweb silk.

I also decided to teach myself thread crochet to make edgings, after getting some crochet cotton and a very tiny steel hook at my mother's LYS. Why? Because that's how I roll.

I hate leaving my family behind, hate hate hate it. But, I love them even more now, if that's even possible. We're so lucky.

I also hate the first day at work. But, thankfully, it's almost over ;-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vacation!

We're heading out tomorrow (hopefully early) to go on vacation... I have 17 hours of driving, split over 2 days, and I'm not bringing a book, or a single additional knitting project aside from my Aeolian.

We'll see how many miles we get before someone wants to kill me ;-)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Des objets finis

N. is sleeping, Hubby is in the lab finishing some stuff up, and Dad is watching extreme cagefighting or some other such pugilistic art, so I got photos taken.

SO. FRIKKIN. CUTE.

These things are so much fun, and the baby loves rolling them around. I'll be making him a few when we get back from vacation.

(Details to follow, I'm too lazy right now to look them up)

Blooooooooobbbbbb.

This is the Aeolian, post set-up chart. Luckily for me the dental floss lifeline is washed out in the crappy flash. The pad of post-its is about 4"x6", for scale.

All the stuff I wanted to pack tonight is clothing, and it's all dirty, and I am NOT going down in the basement at this hour by myself, so surprise! No packing for me. Maybe I'll knit....

This post brought to you by micro and molecular biology.

I'm leaving for vacation on Friday, and as a result I haven't the time to start more experiments. Because I'm not piggybacking procedures, I have downtime. Cultures gotta grow, gels gotta run, and that means I have to wait for them.

So, I get to be rambly again.

I totally don't know if I mentioned our chosen mode of transport for the vacay, but it's a car. Dammit. I'm not happy with the flight options from here to get home, and I'd rather have some control over the stopping and starting, so we're driving it over two days. My dad, being retired and also crazy, drove down on Sunday to stay for the week, and we'll all drive back up this weekend.

I was really afraid he'd scare N. (who reacts strongly to strangers), so over the past two or three weeks we would look at pictures of him with both of my parents. It seemed to work, because he only took about 20 minutes to be totally comfortable with his Papa. We've been having a good week so far, and it's kind of nice to have the extra hands... although it's not quite 'extra hands'. Papa does not do diapers, or soothing. He does horseplay (which is fun, and he's quite gentle), and he does mealtimes. It's SO nice to be able to sit with a cup of coffee in the mornings and not fend off flying cheerios. I'm hoping when we come back here after vacation, Papa will stay for a few extra days...

I still haven't started packing, of course, but this morning I did some planning and actually dug out the duffel bags. I need to do laundry before I pack anything, but that'll be tonight or tomorrow afternoon. I figure since I'm not stressed about it that it'll be fine; last time we packed for a trip I was organizing for three weeks leading up to it. I could screw it all up, and end up driving through northern Maine without enough diapers, but I like to live dangerously.

Instead of packing last night, because it was too late and I was tired, I decided to finish the set-up chart on the Aeolian (when it was late and I was tired, 'cause that makes sense). I'll try and remember to take a pic and post it tonight. I did NOT screw it up, and I stayed up that extra few minutes to thread a lifeline. I know Hubs thinks I'm nuts on the best of days, but I think seeing me wrestling with dental floss and pointy sticks might've convinced him I'm certifiable. I haven't decided how often I'll thread them; I know I should probably put one in after each repeat of the Yucca chart at the beginning, but I might thumb my nose at fate and do it every second Yucca.

As fiddly as silk laceweight can be (even though the Addi lace needles are supposed to be a bit grabbier, which they're so not), I do like the rhythm of knitting lace. I think it's something dorky about the YOs and decreases that's very meditative.

I'm going to be good and only take this one project with me. It's totally not getting finished on this trip, or even on the next trip, but I'm going to try and do my best.

(Until Mom and I go shopping for yarn next week, that is.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The kitty is OK!

It's not feline diabetes! He has hyperthyroidism, which lots of cats live with without any intervention. Being as he's considered "elderly", and in very good health otherwise, the vet was OK with just taking a "wait and see" approach. Because I'm "all" about the "quotes".

The weight loss should stabilize, and as long as he's playing and behaving normally, we're good to go for a while yet. He's 14, and could have a couple of good years left, so we're feeling pretty happy.

YAY!

(and, I'm leaving for two weeks on Friday. Have I packed anything? Nope. I'm blogging instead. I'll never learn, I guess.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

I must be crazy.

So, I decided to cast on for the Aeolian last night. I figured there was a chance that the crochet cast-on and first few rows might be a little fiddly, and thought it might be better to do when I'm relaxed, have good light, etc etc.

Might be a little fiddly. Jesus.

I could shoot myself. I rarely have to rip out and cast on again, and I had to do it a few times last night. I'm at row 11 of the setup chart now, though, after about 45 minutes of work. I don't have a photo, but it amounts to a tiny piece of knitting that's about 3/4" by 2". I feel like my gauge might be off, although I know it's not meant to be knit tightly. I'm probably going to leave out some repeats just to make sure, and I'll be doing a lifeline ASAP... bought some plain dental floss a half hour ago to take home for that exact purpose.

I also realized I don't have enough of the proper stitch markers, which could prove to be a problem. I have pretty freshwater pearl ones, but they're too damn heavy and tangly. I rounded up a few small plastic ones that fit up to US6 or so, which seem to be working, but once I have a few repeats down, I'll need about a dozen more. If I can get to Walmart or a craft store before we go, I should be OK. Otherwise, I'll just have to do a damn lot of counting.

I still love the yarn, and I did find that I was feeling the rhythm of knitting with the laceweight after getting used to it for a few rows. I'm really not sure how long this beast will take, but I'm hoping not too long.

Don't think it'll be a lunchtime project, though ;-)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Happy dance for yarny productions

(huh?)

I'm knackered today, and don't really have a good reason... slept fine last night, the kiddo was quiet from 9:30pm 'til 7:20am. So I'm slogging through my workday, and the boss isn't in yet, so I can post knitting pictures.

(and write impossibly blabbery sentences)

Boteh-y goodness

I couldn't be arsed to take artistic photos, because it was in the middle of the unpacking/cleaning process, but trust me, they turned out wonderfully.

I packed them in some nice little flat boxes (I got them from the bead website that sold me the beads for my Shipwreck, actually), and tied them up with coordinating ribbon. Some stamps to put the teachers' names on them, and they were ready to go.

Here, let me help you Momma.

Very nice.

Details:
Three Botehs for Three Teachers (Ravelry link)
Pattern: Boteh Scarf by Kathy Merrick (Ravelry link)
Size: o/s
Started: May 17, 2009
Finished: July 7, 2009
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Flamingo Pie (orange), Go Go Grassy (green), and Cool Fire (pink)
Hook: US F
Gauge: I have yet to figure out gauge in crochet
Modifications: none aside from yarn sub

These are the perfect portable lunchtime project. The DiC colors work really well with the pattern, too.

I have another of these in Noro Silk Garden Sock, but it's not going as fast; I became engrossed in a novel, and that's my lunchtime distraction these past few days.

Oh. So. Tired. Need. Coffee.