Thursday, November 27, 2008

Taste of Love

Fred's birthday was on Monday, and he requested a chocolate cake. I didn't get around to making it until yesterday, but I did get it done.

Happy belated birthday, baby!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We brought Theo home Sunday afternoon.

I would like to show you a photo of her, but I don't have one because she won't come out from under the armchair in the sewing room. She's eating and going to the bathroom though, so I'm not worried. It just means that there is a delay in adding chaos to the rest of the house, and that I will spend more time in the sewing room so that she gets used to me.

The other cats are quite put out that they aren't allowed in that room anymore. It gets the best afternoon sunlight, and has lots of yarn to roll around in. They've been digging at the carpet outside the door, completely ruining what what already only mostly ruined.

Oh well, we we're going to get our security deposit back anyway.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November Morning Commute in Southwestern Ontario

Low clouds the colour of cream of mushroom soup leak flurries to add to the blanket of the first snow that already covers the fields on either side of the two-lane highway I drive twice daily.

Evergreen trees carry a mantle of soft whiteness, while the branches of the leafless trees are limned in silver, a few stray red leaves turned into a pink candyfloss confection.

I chat with a stranger as we fill our tanks, discussing winter jackets, the price of gas in the '80's (playing a game of "I remember when" one-upmanship), and whether the switch from imperial to metric was a government conspiracy (him: yes, me: no).

A different stranger, a lovely blonde woman, stops me just outside the parking lot: I have forgotten to replace my gas cap, and she has fixed it for me.

I get to work late, but safe, thanks to my four new tires, and schlepp my stuff to my desk, including my shoes in a bag, because it is November in Southwestern Ontario, and time to wear winter boots.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Anarchy, that I run!

This Sunday we will be expanding our family again.

People with more than two children have said to me that they suppose multiple animals are like multiple kids: the jump from one to two is a huge change, but after that, it's a relatively small one. When you've already got four cats and a dog, what's one more kitty?

The last time we did this, about a year ago, Roo, an elderly Shepherd-Husky cross moved in with us. The time before that, just over two years ago, we brought home Zoe, a little black girl kitty, who turned out to be a boy.

On Sunday we will be bringing Theo home. She is an 8-year old, front-declawed, grey and white kitty, with a boy's name. This balances out the boy cat with a girl name thing quite nicely. Since she is about the same age as Sabre and Callie, I am hoping that they will get along. The hierarchy in our house has been out of whack since we go Zoe, so really, it's anyone's game.

We do know for certain that neither Fred nor I are actually in charge of anything. You know what they say: Dogs have owners, cats have staff. Of course, our dog thinks she's a cat.

I'll have photos of the new member of management once she arrives and has a couple of days to settle in.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday, yes?

Here is what happens when you aren't used to taking work home on the weekend.

You forget until Sunday night that you had meant to do work, and decide to just leave it and go in a little early Monday. You also feel like 4 kinds of hell, so decide to put off laundry, cleaning the kitchen and making husband's food for the week until Monday night, and instead start knitting a scarf for your mom while watching five episodes of True Blood.

You forget to take your work back to work with you Monday morning, and you have a 9 am meeting, so you can't make the hour long round trip home to get your work until after the meeting, meaning that you won't get to start on your work until about 11 am.

You will have to stay late at work to get everything in for the Tuesday morning deadline, meaning that the housework is going to keep you up until well past eleven, and that tomorrow you will feel like 4 kinds of hell again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Who needs sleep?

Since Daylight Savings Time ended a couple of weeks ago, I have been totally out of whack.

The other night I went to bed at 8:30 and slept until 6:15 the next morning, and was still tired when I got up.

Today, I woke up at 5:30, ready to go, after going to bed at midnight.

I would just like to say, "Body? WTF?"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Knitting Meme

Leone didn't tag me, but I stole it anyway (way back in March). And I "fixed" it to be the way I like it, so if you're a knitter who wants to do the meme, I suggest you go steal it from Leone too, so you get the unadulterated form.

Have you knit....

- No
I-cord - Yep. I used it to top off baby hats. I also knit i-cord around my i-Pod headphones.
Garter stitch - That would be the very first thing I knit
Knitting with metal wire - I've considered this, but I'm afraid of damaging my needles or myself. Ok, mostly myself.
Shawl - I've got two on the needles now. One is languishing because I need to muck with the gauge otherwise I'll run out of yarn. The other is a circular shawl, and I am having challenges with it.
Stockinette stitch - Yup!
Socks: top-down - all of them so far
Socks: toe-up - tried it twice, but haven't gotten comfortable enough with it to actually finish a pair this way
Knitting with camel yarn - No, my mother is keeping it all for herself. She won't share her quiviut, or her vicuna either. *pout*
Mittens: Cuff-up - Nope
Mittens: Tip-down - Nope
Hat - a bajillion baby hats, only one for adults so far
Knitting with silk a fine strand with wool for socks - Nope. Wool, bamboo, tencel/merino, mohair/merino, but no silk.
Moebius band knitting - not yet
Participating in a KAL - I've signed up for them, but haven't actually managed to knit along at the same time as other people
Sweater - Two on the needles right now
Drop stitch patterns - Not yet
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn - Yes
Slip stitch patterns - Not entire patterns, but always on the heels of my socks.
Knitting with banana fiber yarn - No
Twisted stitch patterns - again, not entire patterns, but I've used them in sock cuffs.
Knitting with bamboo yarn - Yes
Charity knitting - Not yet
Knitting with soy yarn - No
Cardigan - Both sweaters currently on the needles are cardigans; one for me, one for Fred
Toy/doll clothing - Toy, yes, clothing for toys, no
Baby items - Yeppers
Knitting with your own handspun yarn - Still working on learning that spinning thing, but someday I will
Slippers - No
Designing knitted garments - Not yet. I made up the design for Fred's never-ending purple scarf from a stitch dictionary, made-up the design for a pair of socks based on a fingerless glove pattern, and made up a baby blanket based on mitred squares, but I wouldn't call any of it designing.
Cable stitch patterns - Yes, love cables
Lace patterns - Yes, love lace
Publishing a knitting book - Bah hahahaha!
Scarf - Yes
Teaching a child to knit - No, but I have promised to teach my neighbour. She's 38. Does that count?
Knitting to make money - Pfft.
Buttonholes - Not official ones.
Knitting with alpaca - Yes
Fair Isle knitting - No.
Dying with plant colours - When I was a tiny person I used to help my mom, but nothing as a grown up.
Knitting items for a wedding - No
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…) - No
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) - Yes
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn - I have some of my mom's waiting for a project to jumpt out at me.
Holiday related knitting - Yup
Teaching a male how to knit - No
Bobbles - Yes, but possibly never again.
Knitting for a living - Again, I say pfft.
Knitting with cotton - Cotten blend
Knitting smocking - No idea what this is.
Dying yarn - With Kool Aid only so far.
Knitting art - No, but I'm considering doing some freeform
Fulling/felting - Yes, although I'm not very good at it
Knitting with wool - Yes
Kitchener stitch - Sock toes!
Purses/bags - No
Knitting with beads - Need to learn this.
Swatching - Mostly
Long Tail CO - Pretty much the only one I use.
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn - Socks
Stuffed toys - Yes
Knitting with cashmere (mmm, cashmere!) - No
Darning - No.
Jewelry - Not knitted stuff.
Knitting with synthetic yarn - Yes.
Writing a pattern - No.
Gloves - only fingerless
Intarsia - Yes
Knitting with linen - No
Knitting for preemies - Just the one my friend had
Short rows - Yes
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers - yes
Pillows - No
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine - All the frickin' time
Rug - No.
Knitting on a loom - No
Knitting a gift - yes
Knitting for a pet? - yes
Shrug/bolero/poncho - Yes, although it didn't work out well and is destined to become a cat bed
Knitting with dog/cat hair accidentally or on purpose? - Accidently. Four cats, one dog.
Knitting in public - As often as possible.
Knitting with buffalo yarn - No.
Dyeing with food dye/drink mixes - Yes. You know, this would have been shorter without all the redundant questions.
Dyeing with chemical dyes (acid, etc) - No.

Well, if you read the whole thing, you're either a knitter, or you really, really like me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Money, money, money

Warning: this is a getting it off my chest post. I'm not looking for advice, just needing to get this out there.

I feel like we have been having money problems for, well, forever.

We've borrowed from friends and family, last year I got a second job for six months, husband has done some overtime (although not as much as I wish he would), I've cut back my personal spending just about as much as I can and we're still sinking like the Titanic.

The thing is, we both have a job. We both make good money (although I did take a substantial pay cut to not have to travel into Toronto to work). I very much don't want to have to go to work at Wendy's but it's looking like that's going to be my next step.

We have debt. Two cars, my student loan, a personal loan and some back taxes. It's not an incredible amount of money, but it's enough that every month is a struggle to make rent, or to pay hydro. A while ago we had our home phone cut off. I've spun it to some friends, and especially to family, that we decided to just switch over to cell phones, like it was some hip-with-the-era decision. Really, it filled me with shame, and terror, that at the age of 35, I still don't have it together.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lack of brain...

...means that today I revert to the meme. From Allison and Jenn. Also, I'm terrible at following directions.

Use one word to describe or answer the following list. (In the comments is fine - or on your blog if you like and then let us know to go look!)

1.Your house?
Rented 3-bedroom townhouse

2.Your significant other?
Fred, my husband of about 15 months

3. Your hair?
Blondey-reddy, from a box, and the longest it's been in years.

4. Your family?
This is harder than you'd think.
Blood: mom and Frank (although he's not technically blood, I suppose), dad, myriad aunts, uncles and cousins, Fred's parents and sister, etc.
Choice: Fred, Mom and Frank, my ladies from tea plus Lesley, Leslie and Calli, Dad, Aunt Betty and Uncle Jimmy, my cousin Irene, and the furballs.

5. Favorite place to eat?

6. Your favorite thing you can see right now?
Photos of kitties on my desk.

7. Where is your cell phone?
On my desk.

8. Your favorite drink?
Cold: milk
Hot: tea

9.Your dream/goal?
To be a midwife, and sell jewellery.

10. What Room you are in?

11. Your hobby?
Knitting, beading, cross-stitching

12. Your fear?

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years?
I'd like to be a mom, working as a doula, maybe working on owning a home in the country, instead of renting one in the city.

14. Where were you last night?
At tea.

15. Something that you aren’t?

16. Pie?
Yes, please!

17. Wish list item?
Just one? Hm. A winter driving kit for my car.

18. TV show?
Current: Bones
Forever: Buffy

19. Last thing you did?
Played in Excel.

20. What are you wearing?
Sweater, black pants, hand-knit sokcs, black shoes.

21. Vacation spot?
Cottage in the woods, near water.

22. Your pets?
Four cats: Sabre, Callie, Nova and Zoe
One dog: Roo

23. A best friend?
See that chosen family list above.

24. Your life?
Pretty damn good.

25. Your mood?
Tired today, but happy.

26. Missing someone?
My Jimmy Dean cast.

27. Your car?
2002 Chevy Cavalier, red.

28. Something you’re not wearing.

29. Your favorite store?
Much as it shames me to admit it, I love the Disney Store. I also love the farm store at my crop share farm in an equal amount.

30.Best memory?
August 3, 2007, doing photos after we got married. So much fun, even though it was stupid hot.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Round-up

Friday night I went out dancing for a girlfriend's birthday (I was driving, so didn't drink). We closed the bar and had a great time. Saturday I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. It turns out that I don't bounce back from being out that late quite the way I used to.

Fred was gone most of the weekend. It was the closing weekend of the controlled deer hunt, so he was out at my Mom's farm, sitting outside in the wind/rain/hail/cold. Not my idea of a fun time, but he enjoyed himself. One of the members of his party brought down a buck, so now I get to learn how to cook venison. Any suggestions?

Yesterday afternoon one of my friends hosted a Mary Kay facial class. We had a very good time, and booked three more classes with the consultant over the next few months. We're going to do a beach party theme at the end of January (focuses on total body skin care and no-sun tanning alternatives), a before and after glamour make-over mid-December, and another make-over session in a couple of weeks in which the consultant has agreed to figure out what kind of goth pin-up looks we can come up with. I'm betting Mary Kay never envisaged that use for her make-up!

Finally, I picked up a new yoga dvd, produced by Ali McGraw. Wowee! There are some bendy bits in there that I didn't know my body was supposed to be able to do! It's a 53 minute long dvd, but I didn't feel like it took that long. It's going to be a while (like, years) before I'm at the level where I can complete many of the poses, but I liked it enough that I'll keep trying.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I like food.

This really shouldn't come as a surprise, or as news.

I usually prefer healthy food: fresh veggies, lean meats, whole grain breads. I take pleasure in the taste and texture, and I love to spend a day in the kitchen making soups and breads and pies.

I prefer that food be food. Organic and local, if possible. Not from a box, or having ingredients that I have to sound out by syllable. No sugar in things that don't need sugar, and if it does have sugar added, I like real sugar, not HFCS or something similar.


There are some "foods" that call to me, that fall completely outside of what I consider to be food (hence the quotation marks back there). Kraft Dinner, Cool Ranch Doritos and street meat are the top three offenders. You're all likely familiar with the first two, but the latter needs some explanation.

In Toronto (and I expect, in other large cities as well, but Toronto is where my experience lies) there are vendors who dot the downtown street throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn. They sell hot dogs, freshly barbequed, right there in front of you. They have all beef, all chicken, sausages and veggie dogs. They crisp the buns on the grill. They offer a wide range of condiments from ketchup to sauerkraut. The scent of grilling meat wafts up the street, and it was a weekly treat to get a hot dog for all of $2. Who knows what's actually in the hot dogs, or how often they change the mayonnaise? When was the last time that guy behind the grill washed his hands? It's a gamble, a crapshoot, totally against the way I try to eat.

And yet...

Yesterday, while walking back to my desk from a meeting, I smelled something familiar. I looked around, and there on the side of the road, was a street meat cart. It's been over a year since I stopped working in Toronto, and therefore have had the chance to partake. Yesterday I had my usual lunch: healthy sammich, homemade soup, veggies, organic yoghurt, an apple. Today, I left out the sammich while packing my lunch. I have my $4 (just in case it costs more in Waterloo than in Toronto). I am about to go for a walk across the road. Wish me luck with the mayonnaise.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Last night I spent a few hours making a bracelet for my friend for her birthday tomorrow:

I really enjoy doing this and would like to try selling some of my work on etsy, but I'm having a hard time figuring how to do the pricing. I know that it should be materials + labour, and take into consideration what the market will bear, but I just can't seem to get that down to an actual number. Anyone out there who runs a business (Laurie, Meg, Annika, you all spring to mind) have any pointers on how to figure this out?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Making a brighter day

I've been thinking all morning about what I should write about today. Do I write about Barack Obama? Do I write about my disappointment that Prop 8 in California passed? Do I write about my feelings about politics, and the state of the world?

Do I write about the fact that my weigh-in yesterday didn't show me the numbers I wanted, or that I've stepped up my exercise, or that I need to remember to find my tape measure so that I can track my quest for a healthier body that way? Do I write about my struggle with not labeling my food choices as good or bad, and working on not being ashamed of the food choices I make?

Well, at some point, I'll likely write about all of it (and I was worried I wouldn't have anything to say! Ha!), but today didn't feel like the right day for an in depth look at any of it, as I'm suffering from a bit of an emotional hang-over. So I wondered, what the heck would I write about?

Then, around about 10:30 this morning I wandered into the kitchen at work to rinse out my yoghurt cup and I saw the woman who does the cleaning in my office building. I am ashamed to say that I don't know her name, but we have been exchanging pleasantries every weekday for the past six months. When she was gone for two weeks a couple of months ago, I worried that I wouldn't see her again, that she had been transferred to a different building. When she came back, I told her that I had missed her, and found that I meant it. She had been on vacation to South America, her place of birth, to see her family. It was the first time she'd been home in fifteen years, and she told me how much she enjoyed seeing her mother and siblings, and her daughter who had stayed behind when she came to Canada.

This morning, she said to me "You weren't here last week, and I missed you." It brightened my day to know that I am a part of her world, in the same way that she is a part of mine. I think that tomorrow I will introduce myself properly.

ETA on Friday: her name is Marta.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


My friend tigerleo challenged me to NaBloPoMo, and then I double-dared her.

Well, she wins because despite moving, she managed to post on November 2, while I am only getting to my first post on the 4th.

Anyhoodle, I have my reservations about this, because I'm not certain I can come up with something to talk about every single day, and because I'm not usually on the computer on weekends (I have to wrestle it away from my husband, or get up early...), but I am going to give it a shot.

I have a couple of memes saved up, and some posts that I never got around to writing, and if all else fails, I can take pictures of the animals.

In other, much more important news, today is election day in the US. If you're in the US, go vote. If you're not in the US, and wish you could still have a say go to If the World Could Vote and cast yours (thanks to Johanna B for the link).

One thing I find interesting about the American election is that they get a chance to vote on policy. In Canada, you vote for your local representative, and that's it aside from the very occasional referendum that gets called, but those don't happen at the same time as our federal elections do. Here's a short list of some of the propositions/acts/amendments/questions that US citizens can vote on in their regions. That list is by no means comprehensive, and comes from a viewpoint of feminist leaning, but it gives people outside the US an idea of the kinds of things they have the chance to directly affect.

I'll be checking the results tonight, and hoping that the promised change really comes.