Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shocked and appalled.

I've often said that I'm crazy, not stupid.

Apparently, I am wrong.

I've said recently that my house is a pig-sty, and perhaps not fit for human occupation. I am not exaggerating.

After a whole week off, I finally got busy today and started to do something about it. I tidied up the basement, moved a whole bunch of stuff down there, in order to pull up the carpet in the dining room.

It's worse than I thought.

My guys have been sending me messages that I have not noticed, and have very nicely relieved themselves around the perimeter of the room. The carpet is filthy, and the moisture appears to have travelled up the wall of the divider between the kitchen and living room as well as soaked through some cardboard and split the veneer on a bookcase I hoped to assemble (a fairly expensive bookcase and one I have wanted for a very long time).

The afternoon proceeded thus:

Job number one: tidy basement (no photographic evidence, because I do not want to be committed to a mental health facility).

Job number two: move stuff around in the basement to make room for more stuff.

Job number three: move this downstairs.

Pause to consider that I should have a "grab box" garage sale. I haven't really opened these boxes in a year, so I obviously don't need this stuff.

Job number four: assess damage.

Job number five: pour myself a stiff drink and consider that I am a very foolish person, and that my apathy and lack of motivation might quite possibly cost me a lot of money. Also wonder if my health insurance plan covers renovations. Likely not.

I am shocked that I have let things go this far. Really, I thought the smell was a neglected cat box downstairs, which admittedly, didn't get cleaned as often as it should have. I realized that the carpet was a different colour, but I have black cats that shed all the time and beige carpet. I knew that I wasn't vacuuming like I should, but I was going to pull it up, very shortly. Really, I was.

Right now, I am considering blowing off my plans for the evening and having a stab at that carpet. I'm already filthy, and that carpet's not going to remove itself.

But, part of my depression comes from isolation, and bailing on invitations from friends will not fix that part of it.

And, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I will anyway. Tidying up this afternoon was a form of procrastination - I should have been studying. Hell, I should have been tidying up and studying all week, but instead, I was shopping, knitting, reading and visiting with people. Now, in the space of 36 hours, I plan to do all the things I should have done during the last week.

My failure to manage my time is appalling. I used to be good at this. I truly wonder what happened.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Yule to me

All that money was burning a hole in my pocket.

And, since I had to go downtown to pick up a memory card and the missing headset for my new pda, I thought I would pop into the bookshop and music store.

You know, if the shops weren't too busy.

As an aside, when funds permit, I feel no guilt whatsoever buying myself things during the holidays. My family doesn't exchange gifts. We give presents to the babies, and that's it. Honestly, not having to battle the crowds buying things that no one really wants makes this season so much simpler.

I wanted to spend a small amount of the unexpected funds on treats. Not new jeans or the long underwear I desperately need, but fun stuff. Stuff I want but never get around to buying.

Boy, it was hard to choose. Quite often, when I go shopping with idea of spending money, I can't find anything I like. It's when I've got a big bill coming up, or am trying to save for something that I find many things that I have to have right now. But, I persevered, and this is what I got:

Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave, Ann Budd and Anne Merrow, Editors

I got this because I spend lots of time knitting socks, and I really want to break out of my variations-on-a-theme basic sock groove.

No Sheep for You, Amy R. Singer

I have this fantasy of never buying another sweater again. But, wool is not always practical, so I figured that learning about the properties of different fibres and how the fibres knit up would be a good thing to do. Plus, the patterns are gorgeous.

Fitted Knits, Stefanie Japel

We talked about this at knit night - I think I am much larger than I really am, and anything I make for myself winds up being a small tent. I'm looking for some hints here, on how to produce garments for myself that won't clothe me and a friend at the same time.

For each of these books, there are at least three others I considered. There are some incredible pattern books out there, and I really do want them all. It's been at least five years since I bought a current book of patterns. Most of my knitting books come from the $4.99 bin. Also, I have very little in the way of reference books. Someday...

The music shop was insane, but the line was short, and I had 10 minutes to kill before the next bus. I swooped in and got two cds that were mentioned here. Everything I know about pop culture, I get from this blog.

Plus, these two artists are in heavy rotation on my favourite radio station, KICK FM. College radio is fun!

I had never heard of Feist before she played the Winnipeg Folk Festival a couple of years ago. I was blown away and have been a fan ever since (Yup, I pretty much live under a rock).

Back to Black, Amy Winehouse

I know she's a train wreck, but she keeps her panties on, unlike other train wrecks out there, and well, she writes beautiful songs.

I haven't purchased any music since July. I'm pleased to be adding something new to my ipod.

That is it for shopping for a while! I'm done, other than visits to the grocery and liquor stores. Except for the yarn sale coming up. New jeans and long underwear can wait until the crowds vacate the malls. Probably some time in February.

(All photos shamelessly swiped from

Friday, December 21, 2007

I love my job!

I know I've said that repeatedly, but it's true.

This job gives me everything I need: interesting, rewarding work, freedom to develop my role, opportunities to learn, constructive feedback, appreciation for a job done well, flexibility to work around personal commitments, a blind-eye when it comes to arriving on time, and a healthy pay cheque.

What I didn't expect was the following:

  • Colleagues that make me laugh so hard that I cry.
  • Staff that are willing and enthusiastic about learning new things and working together.
  • Management that really follows through on what they say.
  • Reimbursement for education costs, before the course is passed. Including registration and general tuition fees. Not just course fees.
  • A boss that really motivates and respects his staff. And trusts them to do their jobs.
  • Unexpected small treats, like a Christmas Ham, occasional company lunches, THREE extra paid-days off through the holidays.
  • A sales manager who is happy to share promotional merchandise with whiny accountants who say "I need three hats, not one. I have a dad and two brothers!"

And finally, this one knocked my hand-knitted socks off:

  • A huge holiday bonus. Even for me, who wasn't with the company during the busy time, and really doesn't deserve it.

I was so surprised, so touched, that I nearly cried. I told the manager presenting it to me that I loved coming to work every day, and that I am privileged to belong to this organization.

I almost-cried in a good way, for a change. But really, I wish I could get over this "crying at the office" thing.

I've already got it spent. I'm paying someone to paint my dining room and kitchen. I made the decision to farm out that job last night, and today I've got the money to pay for it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Kinda busy right now

Playing with this:

And excavating the basement to find my Office disc, because Outlook Express doesn't talk to it, but Outlook does.

"Krismas? Vhat is dis Krismas t'ing you talk bout? I no not'ing. Is silly."

(with apologies to S, from long ago, who mocked her in-laws from Slovenia).

Monday, December 17, 2007


For reasons I'm not prepared to go into, my father and his brother are not on speaking terms. The situation is quite sad, and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say it's broken my father's heart.

Therefore, I was very surprised when I got a facebook message from my aunt asking for my address. I haven't spoken to her for at least four years now.

I wasn't going to worry about it, thinking that she was on a Christmas card jag, or something. There has never been an official "break" in the family, after all. We just all stopped making an effort to be civil after my grandfather died in 2001.

Well, I got a package in the mail today, and it contained a rug hooking kit that belonged to my grandmother, who died in 1977.

Accompanying the kit was a hook and threader, which belonged to my great-grandmother. She died in 1950, so obviously, I never knew her.

I do know that I'm supposed to take after Annie. She was a tall, broad woman with a hearty laugh, loved music and dancing, and was the life of the party.

There was also a Little Golden Book (remember those?) of Little Red Riding Hood with my name on the inside. It was very much loved, which is a polite way saying it's in terrible shape.

Needless to say, I am stunned. Not quite speechless, but close. This is the last thing I expected to appear on my doorstep. And now, I'm wondering what to do. I absolutely am going to make this rug, there's no question. It won't be for a while, but there's a wall in the house that is screaming for a textile, and I think I just found the solution to that problem.

What I'm not sure about is how to thank my aunt. She included a very nice note, explaining that she sent this to me because I'm the "crafty one" of the cousins. Which is undoubtedly true. Lots of us are artistic, but I'm the one who really knows how to sew, knit, embroider, all that sort of stuff. I am touched by her thoughtfulness, because this is the kind of thing that gets thrown out.

I could send her a message on facebook or I could send an old-fashioned thank you note. I'm leaning towards the thank you note, because that is the proper thing to do. The question is, should I view this as an olive branch, or just de-cluttering?

I'll tell you this, for sure. I'm not telling my dad. Maybe not even my mom. Not until after the holidays, anyway.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I'm quite pleased about how I clean up so nice:

Go here to see the before (scroll down to third place, contestant C). One commenter thought I was a man! I've been accused of that before, but never when I thought I looked rather girly.

One of the judges ran to my defense, and I thank her for it. I agree, my tan lines are awful (my body hasn't seen the sun for a couple months, now, and I must say, the lines have faded lots. That's 35 years of collateral sun damage, right there). Let this be a lesson to you! Use sunscreen!
Do as I say, not as I do!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dragging my a**

I had to fast overnight, because of blood-work this morning (nothing serious, just regular stuff).

I did not realize how much I would miss my nightly glass(es) of wine and more importantly, coffee. I did not have two cups of my beloved leaded fresh-ground dark roast today. Instead, I had two cups of the brown water provided at the office. It sucked. I couldn't figure out why I was so tired - it surely wasn't because I'd had too much wine last night. I hadn't had any wine (which is rare, but it happens). I wanted to have a snooze. In a big way.
As an aside, I published the November financial statements today. In the early afternoon. A day-and-a-half ahead of schedule. I would normally be proud of this, except that because of the weather, I didn't do a physical inventory count this month. Which usually takes about a day and a half. So, I'm not faster, I just have less work to do. That's OK, it's December, which, in accounting terms, is only three weeks long. In conclusion, I'm right on time. And I have a shitload of work to do in the next six days, because I think the office is going to be closed on December 24, 27 and 28.
Once again, let me say: I LOVE MY JOB! I have an employer that recognizes that employees need a break, and that having a life outside of work is important, and well, nobody actually does any work on those days anyway, so why bother?
But, I have knitting stuff, too. There's been much discussion on Ravelry about where and when it's appropriate to knit. Including post-secondary education lectures. Let me share yesterday's experience, with a little background information.
I've been putzing along, taking classes for seven years now. I am definitely taking the scenic route. And, you can refer to earlier posts about how discontented I am. In my most recent "break," I decided to be a knitter, loud and proud. Something I had always kept private, became public because I had finally figured out that if I wanted to accomplish what I set out to do, I had to do it all the time.
Back to the course: I am not especially interested in the material, I knew in order to make this bearable, I had to knit during the lecture. Especially since the lecturer always provides notes. There is no reason to sit there and frantically write things down. Yesterday, I strolled in, a couple minutes late (you can thank Winnipeg Transit and RRC's awful maps for that) plunked myself in the back row, and pulled out my knitting.
Well, it wasn't the best lecture I've ever attended, but it certainly wasn't the worst. The important thing is, I was engaged, I participated, I asked questions, and between the lecture and several horrendously long bus-rides, I did this:

Is that a sock, or are you just happy to see me?

Yup, about a quarter-inch away from the heel-flap. That's nearly five inches of sock leg (I had just nicely finished the ribbing the night before) in one evening. And no-one looked at me funny. They are all sooo busy, trying to get ahead, trying to get a leg up (ha! I'm so funny!) on the competition (that is, other classmates). So, I'm going to knit on. 'Cause otherwise, I'm never going to get through this. If knitting in what would be, to some, an inappropriate situation, is a crime against my lecturer, and the penalty is actually being interested in what I am doing, so be it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just a little light reading

I made my annual trek to pick up my books tonight.

Had an interesting experience. Well, to me, anyway (Warning! Boredom ahead!). I was standing at the bus stop, waiting patiently in the dark. I wasn't too worried when a bus went by without stopping. Then a second bus flew.... no wait, it stopped, it jumped a lane of traffic to pick me up. The driver said that she had never picked anyone up at that stop before. This is the strange part: I was directly across the street from the organization I take courses from. Now, lectures are held off-site, so it doesn't surprise me that there isn't a huge crew getting off and on there every night, but to have never stopped? Evening book pick-up is one night a week. There should have been at least a couple others. Does that mean the thousands of other students in this program have cars? That is shocking. And appalling.

Anyway, this is what I got:

Honking big pile of paper. Wine glass included for scale. And to give me some determination. And inspiration. CD's of programming languages not shown.

Not fun stuff - two courses worth of material, which should take me through June. Plus, there's probably an equal amount going to be printed off the Internet. I read the introduction to my first textbook as I was killing time before going to Knit Night. It's going to be a looong winter.

I have ranted earlier about this program, which for obvious reasons I am reluctant to name, but my rage has not subsided at all. I managed to get onto the website where all the educational stuff is, and it's the most horribly designed space I have ever seen. No improvement whatsoever over its predecessor. Perhaps I am spoiled because of the beauty and simplicity that is Ravelry, but I feel another hostile letter coming on...

My mother told me to suck it up. She wants to see my picture in the newspaper when I am done. Apparently, that's all that matters. I wish I thought of it at the time, I should have told her if she wanted to see me in the paper, I could just commit a terrible crime and show up in the "10 most wanted" section. That certainly would be easier.

So, after the burden of carrying those books around and becoming completely discouraged about the amount of studying I have to do, I did not work on Mini B's sweater tonight (I was hoping to do some math on it at work today, but I actually had real work to do). Instead, I consoled myself with a ball of sock yarn and a set of 2.25 mm needles, a size that is not currently in my arsenal. I got the ribbing of a basic sock done in between bouts of laughter. It was a good night.

Sweet, simple socks, how I do I love thee? I'll count the ways later.

Tomorrow will not be a good night. It's my first lecture, and I am missing a Stitch 'n Bitch to go. If the lecture sucks, I'm totally downloading the audio lectures and bailing. And I fully intend to knit through the entire thing. I've got a basic sock started just for the occasion.

Monday, December 10, 2007

It may look like two empty baskets

but this is so much more than two measly, empty baskets.

You see, the thing I neglected to say, the other day, when I was extolling my lost virtues as a neat freak, is that I was also a keeper. I kept everything. Grocery lists, business cards of people I met when I was drunk, pamplets about products I found intriguing, safety pins, stray bandaids I found in my purse. It all got thrown into a basket, and then the lid went on the basket, the basket was placed on the shelf, and it was never looked at again. The baskets got dusted regularily, when the cleaning service came, and all was well.

I looked super-organized, and that was all that mattered.

I packed in a hurry, last year. All the crates were stowed in the basement when I arrived, and for the last year, I have been cherry-picking all those boxes, looking for what I need about 10 minutes after I actually needed it. The basement is a sea of opened boxes, contents spilling out, things piled everywhere, because I was looking for the WD40 (I bought a new can, and found the old one the next day).

I may own one hundred (I'm guessing!) pairs of shoes, but I only actually wear about six. I'm not prepared to talk about handbags just yet.

Tonight, I was down there, shifting things around, making room for new stuff, truth be told, and I saw two little cute grass baskets. I grabbed them, put them aside, thinking since I'm on this cleaning jag, I should maybe throw some stuff out. And if I empty those baskets, well, I could just put something newer and shinier in them, right? It's a small job that I could finish very quickly, and feel a certain amount of satisfaction about.

I am proud to say that the contents of those two tiny baskets were (in order):

  • promptly put in the garbage (even lip gloss from 2001, which clashes with my skin-tone, now that I have highlights).
  • placed with similar items in the suitable place (NyQuil gel caps belong with NyQuil gel caps. It's the poor person's sleep aid).
  • stored on my desk, waiting to be placed with like-items from the 150,000 other baskets still in the basement (Combination lock, and I know the combination is written down, and sitting in another basket. Birth certificate, ordered to replace the birth certificate I couldn't find).

Baby steps, right?

I'm a knock-out

Go here. Scroll down. Have a good look at third place. It's OK, I'll wait.

I promise you, I was not nude. I was in my underwear, getting ready for the company Christmas party, and I looked smashing once the rollers came out.

I got several compliments, and that was a balm to my ravaged ego. Really, I do clean up pretty good. I guess the change was remarkable because I can wear jeans to work. Every day if I want to.

But that doesn't matter.

I must admit, it was very, very strange clicking over to a blog at lunch, scrolling down the page while eating my left-overs, and finding a picture of myself on the FREAKING INTERNET. IN WHICH I APPEAR TO BE NAKED!

Oh well, that's what I get for tipsy emailing. Perhaps in a few days, I'll post the "after" shot.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I continue to amaze myself

with my ability to procrastinate.

Mini B's sweater is not going so well. The back has been put aside, because I'm at the point where I need to decrease for the raglan sleeves. I was not going to attempt the math, working from a top-down pattern but working bottom-up when I was well into my third beer. I'm crazy, not stupid.

Just for fun (and because I have oodles of time (ha!)) I cast on the neck as instructed in Five Fruits (but adjusting for gauge, naturally). I am not loving my button holes, and since intarsia in the round is practically impossible, I realize this is not a productive use of my time.

Today, Sunday, normally a pretty big knitting day at Chez Peepee, I have not even looked at the sweater. I have, drum roll please, been CLEANING.

A little background...

Before I purchased Chez Peepee, I was the biggest organizational, neat freak, obsessive compulsive behavioral person you had ever encountered. And, I liked it that way.

Not so much, in the last year. Buying this house, small and cute as it is, was a bite far bigger than I could chew. And events of the summer and fall have kicked my ass.

I have seriously neglected all household duties. Really, the only reason I appeared at work in clean clothes is because I am having an intense love affair with my washer and dryer (you haul your laundry nine blocks down the street on your back... for three years. Most of it soaking wet because you pre-treat stains and whites. You'd be in love, too).

If I had children, and some child-protective agency had come to visit, I would have lost custody of my children, for sanitary reasons. I AM NOT EXAGGERATING! When my brother and Mini B came for a visit a few weeks ago, I wouldn't allow them to take off their shoes, because the carpet was that dirty. And, my brother told my mom that my house smelled of cat pee. I see no reason to disbelieve him. The fact that I didn't pull out all the stops and clean frantically for my brother's impending visit is a pretty good sign that all is not well, mental-health-wise. Normally, no matter how bad I'm feeling, I manage to put on a pretty good show.

In conclusion, Mini B's sweater might very well be late this year. That's OK. Christmas, on the very day, is not a priority for my family. I don't need to go home until I'm good and ready. And right now, I need to be at home, perhaps finally having a go at that disaster of a basement. Because the smell is not just in my head.

Friday, December 7, 2007


I mentioned in my last post that I am beginning a course on Monday.

I know the office received my application, because I had a phone call with a question. But as of last night, no confirmation.

Today I called. It turns out, they don't mail confirmations anymore. It's email only, and the person sending the email had a typo in the address. So, fine, she sent an orientation message that would give me the gist of things.

I go to the web-site, and I cannot sign in. My user id does not exist (the user id I've had for oh, about seven years now). I call the office again. The poor woman on the other end tells me that I need to email tech support. I am more than impolite when I tell her that's not acceptable, and I need a user id, and I need it NOW. So, she keys in my name, and tells me that I have a different user id now.

Thanks. When were you going to let me know? And, how?

I am furious.

One of the reasons I gave up taking courses is that it's all delivered on-line, and there were platform problems, database problems, proof-reading problems, other problems that I don't even remember anymore, and for an organization that prides itself on communication (and drilled that good communication skills were necessary into us, the students) any communication was absolutely abysmal. I know bad grammar and incomplete sentences when I see them, and I was not impressed. A sentence fragment is not a question, and I don't care that my response to your non-question is worth 30 marks. Let me, instead, write a dissertation on how much of a farce this is. Believe me, I did.

I am amazed that I am paying thousands of dollars for the privilege of being this angry.

Tuition has gone up 20% in the two years I've been gone. And, there's a new on-line delivery system now (I guess they read my hostile letter about how incredibly much the last one sucked).

I have struggled, for two years, to let this anger go. I re-evaluated my professional goals, thinking the letters behind my name weren't necessary to accomplish what I wanted to. I bought a house, and needed to concentrate on that for a while. But, now I have a job where I want to stretch and learn. The look on my boss's face when I told him was joyous to see. It is wonderful to be supported and encouraged. To be in a place where I am challenged. (Look! A sentence fragment!)

But, in the space of fifteen minutes this morning, I was right back in that place. Stomping angry. Cursing angry. Taking it out on people-who-have-nothing-to-do-with-it angry. I haven't grown at all.

Or, maybe I have. I didn't cry.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

If there was any doubt

that I am certifiably insane, let it be removed right now.
I am, in the next nineteen (19! Bloody hell!) days going to knit a toddler sweater out of fingering-weight yarn. I cast on yesterday.
In retrospect, I shouldn't have spent those few days dicking around with Koohaas and getting back to my beloved sock-knitting. Oops.
Naturally, I'm not really following a pattern. I have a picture in my head, and I found a pattern that has the basic shape and finished measurements that I want, so I've calculated the new stitch count, cast on and am very much hoping for the best.
Here's what I've got so far:

Craptastic photo.

I searched for a heavier yarn in the appropriate colours, but nothing seemed to be available in the local shops I patronize, when I remembered to look (and I've known about this for, oh, about eight months now) and it's too damn late to order anything.

I procrastinated, because there was tons of time. Five skeins is about five socks, and I can whip that off in a couple of weeks, no problem (since I can do half a sock in an evening, just sitting at the pub). My gross miscalculation comes from forgetting that what I want to make is just a picture in my head. I foresee lots of ripping. And what gets ripped must be re-knit.

Let's not forget about the intarsia beast. I haven't knit intarsia since, oh, I think about 1998, when my ex-husband's nephew was born. Holy crap, that kid is about nine now. And if that is any measure of how time flies, I'd better get to it...

Oh, and I start a course next Monday. I guess I will really be putting my knitting-and-reading skills to the test. I wonder how my employer feels about knitting and "working."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Oh my!

There was a package waiting for me tonight. One I have been very much looking forward to receiving.

The delightful package was from the ever-yummy Black Bunny Fibers (remember Icarus?).

This is an estimated 1,000 yards of lace-weight, 90% alpaca, 10% Shetland (and it weighs in at 247 grams. I'm thinking there's more than 1,000 yards. Wow!). I am completely, helplessly in love with this yarn. It sings to my soul, with the blue and light pink peeking out in such a playful, teasing manner. It's called Naughty Knotty. How clever is that? I have two projects in mind: Muir or Juno Regina.

I have promised to knit Juno with a knitting buddy who wants to tackle a lace project, and we were considering starting in the new year. I am committed to doing this with her, because I believe in stretching boundaries (mine and everyone else's), and well, the tinier the sticks and the string, the happier I am, when it comes to knitting. Purlerbear, what do you think?

This sock yarn is 50% merino, 50% tencel. This is a new blend for me. I have a pair of socks to make for another knitting buddy, and I have cast on several times (there's some knitting that doesn't appear on this blog). Each time, I have been unhappy. These socks must be special. Now, J, you prefer your socks to match your trousers. You don't happen to have any "Real Deal Teal" trousers, do you? I'm thinking Pomatomus would be suitable for you. Oh yes, I want to knit those socks for you.

And, speaking of tiny sticks and tiny string, I happened upon this.
Now, I prefer to be a giver than a receiver. Frankly, I have expensive taste, so I should work hard and buy the things I want for myself (and I do). But, I just paid a honking big tuition bill, and there's been lots of shopping going on lately. I try to be mature, responsible and not whine about non-necessary things I don't have and can't really afford, but I waaant it. I want this yarn subscription in a jumping-up-and-down-please-please-please-mum kind of way. Doesn't a year of lace sound exciting? (Don't answer that, N.) Not that I would have time, because that honking big tuition bill? It means sacrificing much of my knitting time to studying.
But, I still wish that I had been a good girl, and that Santa would come down my chimney this year. Sadly, I am Misstea, and therefore I'm automatically on Santa's naughty list (but I've had a hellova lot of fun, and I'm not sorry. I'll be OK).

Monday, December 3, 2007

Breaking up is hard to do. Part II

I realize that the title of that earlier post was a teaser.

Most of my friends and confidants know that over the past three weeks, I have been trying to, in a mature and non-confrontational way, end an intimate relationship that is no longer enriching my life.

After three weeks of being stood up, phone tag and other general annoyances, I ended the relationship tonight.

Not surprisingly, this is a relief. And rather anti-climatic, given how much I try to avoid "the talk."

Why this relationship is no longer a pleasant diversion for me, and why the ending of it has taken so long is not a matter that can be summed up with a quick list, or a clever, funny post.

Rather, the reasons are myriad, and somewhat superficial, and tend to point out to me (when I would rather not think about it) that my taste is somewhat suspect, and my decision-making skills, when it comes to matters of the heart, are appallingly bad.

As an aside, can you tell that Masterpiece Theatre is playing in the background as I write this? I sound terribly pompous.

I often sound pompous, background sound notwithstanding, so I'm not going to edit the previous text.

Rather, I am going to only say a few things:
  • Don't date anybody just because you want someone to cuddle with while you watch a movie. Even if that person is good kisser.

  • Do rely on yourself and your pals. They are the only ones who are truly dependable.

  • Be picky. The things you overlook in the beginning will drive you crazy at the end.

And finally, if you aren't excited when you see that name on call display, it's time to end it. I should have done this two months ago, when he said that he didn't want to come to my show. THAT was a sign, if there ever was one, that I didn't have enough in common with him to sustain a healthy, productive relationship.

And when I was relieved that he wasn't coming to the show, because I would have more fun without him, was another really good sign.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Breaking up is hard to do

I tried doing something today. Something which I have only done once before.

I tried to return yarn.

The yarn and I spent a few moments together, before I placed it in my backpack.

I lovingly said goodbye after carefully and logically explaining that I had bought it on impulse, and I really didn't have a use for it. I said that it wasn't because I didn't love it. I said that it needed to go back to the store, where it could be purchased by someone who loved it even more than me, someone who would use it immediately. I told it that it was worth more than to just go into the china cabinet and sit for an unknown period of time. I even offered to let it talk to the other yarn, so that it would know that I wasn't making this up.

After a bit, I got a little impatient, telling it that someone had to be mature and responsible, and that someone was me. I explained that I had seriously overspent my fun budget recently, and that I had just made a large tuition payment, and therefore this wasn't personal.

I caught the bus, and then missed my connecting bus, so I walked for half an hour in the snow, thinking about how sad this was, how I wished I had planned more carefully. How much I regretted having to sever this promising relationship so quickly.

I got to the store, and found the yarn that I should have purchased instead (I didn't tell the yarn in my backpack that it wasn't my first choice). Serendipitously, the new yarn matched the same dye lot that I already had. I should have been more careful, a week ago.

I gather my basket, and head to the desk. I find my receipt, giddy with joy (but trying to hold it in, and be sensitive to the yarn in my backpack) that things will work out and Mini B will get what her mother really wants for Christmas, and my wallet will not take another hit as a result.

It turns out, the yarn in my backpack was just going on a field trip. It was purchased on sale, and can't be returned.

Sigh. There's room in the house for all the yarn.

P.S. I was allowed to exchange four balls, so that I have enough of one dye-lot to do something for me. As if I need another unfinished pink sweater...

P.P.S. Please don't tell the yarn that I am secretly relieved it came home with me. And we certainly won't tell it that I'm also having an affair with the new Kaffe Fassett sock yarn.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I couldn't resist

Mini J's Christmas sweater is complete, except for the blocking and the seaming. Since I should wash the sheets on my bed before I block, I've put it aside. I'll get at that tomorrow.

And, since I've made some decisions about Mini B's sweater that require a trip to Ram Wools tomorrow, I cast on for Brooklyn Tweed's Koolhaas Hat (scroll down), which appears in Interweave Knit's Holiday Knits 2007 issue. I'm using some Blue Sky Alpaca (my colour is Fuchsia) that's been marinating in my stash for about a year. I wound up one skein quite a while ago, but I've been waiting for the right pattern. I hope I've found it.

The yarn is a gorgeous purply-pink (more purple than pink, in my opinion), and I adore the colour so much that I am determined to paint the front door with it. This photo, as usual, does not justice to the colour at all:

The yarn is so yummy in my hands. Alpaca really is the way to go, and I am tempted to dare N (who finds all wool itchy) to not like it.

There's a couple of notes to make:

  • After using nothing but my Harmony Options for the past six weeks or so, it feels incredibly strange to use my stumpy 16 inch 4mm bamboo circ. The points aren't pointy enough, anymore. I guess I am officially spoiled.
  • The pattern calls for a one stitch being moved to a cable needle. I've talked before about how much I adore cables, but I have not jumped on the cabling-without-a-cable-needle bandwagon. I think it's time. I'm going to learn something tonight, if it kills me. I'm going to use this tutorial, courtesy of the incomparable Grumperina.

100 things about me

Here it is, that famous list.

Written over the course of two evenings, and assisted by several glasses of wine, this is a collection of some silly and serious things about me.

Perhaps I'll look back in 30 years or so and see how much has changed.

1. I'm a born bean-counter. Read somewhere, years ago, that the games that someone played as a little kid were a good indicator of what the kid would be as an adult. I didn't play teacher or doctor. I played bank.

2. I suffer from mild clinical depression. I have been on medication for 10 years, with one break. The break was not a good time in my life (I thought I should get that out of the way early).

3. I have an addictive personality - I adore caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. I have tried several illegal substances, and none of them appealed. Thank goodness.

4. Salty over sweet, every time.

5. I cannot find people in a crowd. The crowd may be as big as three, and I still may miss the person I am looking for. All my friends know this, and look out for me.

6. I used to have a pathological need to be organized. I'm trying to get that back, because I'm sure not organized now.

7. Family is the most important thing to me. They may drive me bonkers, but if they holler, I'm there.

8. I'm proud of my diction and enunciation. Then, I catch myself saying things like "holler." It's a little bit humbling.

9. I didn't know what unconditional love was until my nieces came along. Now, I know.

10. The one thing I like more than knitting is music. I've been on a stage, performing, in one way or another, since I was five. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm any good. I just have balls.

11. I adore being the centre of attention. I will (hopefully not to the detriment of others) do anything to be there. Sometimes, I think that's why I knit in pubs.

12. That said, I am equally comfortable with my own company. I love being home, alone.

13. Reading is another of my favourite things. I will read just about anything I put my hands on. That said, I prefer trashy romance novels by one particular author. I'm a sucker for a well-crafted sentence, and every book of hers is full of them.

14. I tend to use "that said" a lot.

15. I begin far too many sentences with subordinate conjunctions and prepositions. I'm OK with that.

16. I will do my best to deliver on a promise. If I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it. Regrettably, what I set out to do and what actually happens are often two different things.

17. I despise gossip. I will NOT listen to heresy.

18. My favourite colour is pink (no shit, Sherlock).

19. After pink, I will settle for purple. Then blue.

20. I pride myself on my loyalty. Once you are my friend, you have to do something incredibly awful to turn me off. I will defend you until the ends of the earth if you are my friend. I will also hold your hair when you puke, pour you in the taxi when you need to go home, and give the cabbie one helluva tip to see you to your front door. That is, if I don't take you home myself and sleep on your couch. That's what friends are for, after all.

21. I am a very prideful person, apparently.

22. I adore Brussels sprouts, turnips and asparagus. Everything is better with butter and salt.

23. Butter, not margarine, every time.

24. I wrote a story, in high school, called The Princess Who Wore Blue Jeans. She saved the prince from the dragon and resolved the conflict non-violently. I swear, to this day, that I had no idea who the Paper Bag Princess was. In fact, I still don't know. I just loved writing that story, and I'm rather irritated that someone else may have published it first.

25. High school was the worst time of my life.

26. Living in Scotland was the best time of my life. If I got a job offer tomorrow, I would pack my bags and go, no questions asked.

27. I would even leave my cats behind, and they are the two most constant men in my life, other than my dad and brothers.

28. I have very few spiritual beliefs, but I swear to you, I walked down Princes Street in Edinburgh in 1990, and I KNEW that around the corner, on one particular street, there was a bar in a basement. I also knew that I had been there before.

29. There was a bar in the basement.

30. I really, really suck at colour-work. But, I see it in my future, and my nieces grow older and are able to voice their own preferences. I will suck it up, naturally, but I'm not looking forward to it. If nothing else, those two little girls inspire me to be a better knitter. Which is fair, because they are going to look after me when I am old.

31. Therefore, one of my short-term goals is to learn how to knit in the Continental style.

32. My mother drives me batty, but she's still the first person I call when I have anything to work out. It's like talking to me, 25 years in the future, but having made different choices.

33. I'm grateful for that, and I do love her. Did I say she drives me batty? I learned all my good habits from her, and lots of my bad ones too. She is emotionally solid (thought I think that surety is hard-won), and kind, and wonderful, and the very best mother a person could hope for. I also know her well enough to say that she wouldn't see herself the same way.

34. My father is the smartest person I know. Too bad it took me 25 years to figure it out. He's one of those rare people who actually thinks before he speaks. In fact, he thinks so much that there are sometimes long, awkward pauses in conversation. That's what made me think he wasn't so smart.

35. I'm very, very sorry for thinking so poorly of my father now. He knows that. I made a point of telling him. And every time I see my dad, it reminds me of how much he absolutely rocks. Things are so much better, now that I have an adults perspective.

36. I should make a point of telling my mother how I feel about her. My relationship with my parents is terribly imbalanced.

37. I play the guitar. Very, very badly. I wish I were better. The problem is, my head knows what to do, after 30 years of music. My hands can't keep up.

38. Regrettably, I can't knit and play at the same time. Knitting is winning the fight, these days.

39. I believe that there are (generally) two kinds of people: live-to-work and work-to-live. I am a live-to-work person. I must be challenged and appreciated in my workplace. I learned this the hard way.

40. Being excited about going to work in the morning makes life worthwhile. Well, maybe, that's a small exaggeration, but it sure does make life more tolerable.

41. I learned to sew before I learned to knit. I'm still not a very good seamstress, despite what delusions of grandeur I may have. I think I'm a fairly good knitter.

42. I did not learn any crafty things from my mother or grandmothers. My mother is not crafty at all (in fact, I'm pretty sure she is horribly disappointed that I am not a better athlete) and one grandmother was just far enough away to not get regular lessons (and had eleventy-dozen other grandchildren), and the other grandmother died when I was five.

43. So, I learned from the woman who was my dad's grade 7 and 8 teacher. That was a connection, and five years of my life that I cannot speak fondly enough about. Damn, I am lucky.

44. Every time I do something knitterly, I think of the women (and men) who came before me. If nothing else, I will honour my ancestors, whether literal or figurative.

45. I believe in finding "that thing" that makes you happy. Everybody has to have something. It may be a craft, or a trade, or a relationship. I'm lucky. I have many "things," and people, that make me happy.

46. I sat down, tonight, to write down 25. I'm at 46.

47. This is harder than I thought it would be, finding that balance between achingly-personal and not, between silly and funny.

48. At least, I think that sometimes I am funny. If you don't, I don't really care (unless I've hurt you, otherwise, I will continue on being the centre of attention).

49. My favourite, favourite food, in the entire world, is plain ripple chips with onion dip.

50. I am appalled that I admitted that. I try to project a more sophisticated image of myself. Oops.

51. I have two cats, and I adore them. I do not baby them, however. They are pretty much left on their own, except for the basic food, shelter, litter-box cleaning and occasional cuddle.

52. I sleep in a kitty sandwich every night - one on either side of me.

53. If I happen to have a gentleman caller, or overnight guest, if you will, the boys are very friendly until someone pays more attention to me than them. Then, they get right pissy.

54. In high school and shortly afterwards, I fancied myself a poet. It was terrible stuff.

55. I can't bring myself to throw all those notebooks away, however.

56. I got married two months after my 21st birthday. Don't ever say "I do" when you are thinking "maybe."

57. We separated a week after my 29th birthday. All my memories of my twenties are tied up with someone else. I've tried very hard to make my own memories of my 30's. Seems to be working.

58. I get drunk faster on white wine, as opposed to red. I don't know why that is, because I tend to drink at the same pace.

59. For a while, I made my own wine and beer. It's a hobby I would very much like to return to.

60. I have six tattoos, all of them drawn when I was between 18 and 20 years old. I could get more, but since then, things like groceries, mortgage payments and retirement plans (never mind yarn!) have replaced body art as a priority.

61. For someone who has six tattoos, other body modifications gross me right out, other than a modest ear or nose piercing.

62. When I was in Halifax, touring the Alexander Keith's brewery, I knew more of the words to Barrett's Privateers than the tour guides did.

63. The free half-pints I got with the tour were the first beers I ever enjoyed.

64. I had to practise my beer drinking for a while to get good at it. I did embarrass myself in a taxi one night.

65. I am incredibly, fiercely, independent and stubborn. I hate asking for help, and object mightily to being told what to do.

66. I enjoy telling other people what to do, and am always glad to help. I recognize the hypocrisy, and I don't care.

67. I have amazingly high self-esteem. I realize this is at complete odds with clinical depression, but some things aren't meant to make sense.

68. That said (there it is again), I do wish that I were 20 pounds lighter (I could do something about that) and that my nose were more symmetrical (I could do something about that, too).

69. It doesn't keep me up at night, however.

70. I freely admit that I quite enjoy watching TV, but reality TV shows horrify me. People treat each other terribly enough every day, I don't need to be entertained by it.

71. I am the cranky woman who yells at kids to pick up their litter and to not smoke inside the bus shelter. It scares me every time, but I refuse to give in to the fear.

72. I have a very difficult time apologizing and admitting I was wrong. I am very good at making non-apologies that sound good, but are actually meaningless.

73. It was my ex-husband who pushed me towards bean-counting. Despite all the other issues, I will always be grateful to him for seeing that potential in me, and pushing me in that direction.

74. I may have mentioned it, a time or two, on this blog, that I am an amazing flirt. A former lover once told me that it's because I'm charismatic. I've always held that little compliment close to my heart.

75. I may have amazingly high self-esteem, but it's still nice to have it reinforced.

76. I adore ABBA. I learned to dance while listening to ABBA with a Scandinavian exchange student we had when I was six. It was marvelous. To this day, I would rather dance than walk. My ipod is one of the best investments in technology I ever made.

77. I'm a sucker for 70's singer-songwriters. Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Carole King, Gordon Lightfoot, Carly Simon… Love them all.

78. When it boils down, I just like songs that tell stories.

79. To me, songs are like photographs, and hearing one snaps me right back into the place I was when I paid attention to the words for the very first time.

80. I grew up on a farm. I hated it, and was quite the little princess, refused to do any work, so my younger brothers had to work even harder (and they were practically babies). I regret that very much.

81. Looking back, growing up on a farm wasn't so bad. It taught me how to be comfortable with my own company.

82. I'm a first class bitch, sometimes. I'm that terrible customer, if you are in the service industry, that you dread. But, I tip well.

83. I once dated a man for his money. Never again: I don't like feeling like I'm just an accessory. And, that's all that I was.

84. I have purposefully chosen to not own a car. I've had cars, and I don't like the responsibility and how easy rampant consumerism is when I have a car. Therefore, I will do without, thanks.

85. I adore vacationing by myself. You are only alone on vacation if you want to be.

86. Which is also true of life.

87. Other than my family, my girlfriends are the centre of my universe. Each one of them enriches my life, and I am incredibly grateful for each one of them.

88. But, I'm not ever going to call you, because I hate talking on the phone. I would rather spend time with you, rather than talking at you.

89. I live in the second coldest country on earth. I hate winter, and I especially hate being cold.

90. So, it is very much a good thing that I like wool and like to knit with it. Otherwise, I'd be SOL. Wool is the only thing that makes winter tolerable.

91. I have two theme songs: I Will Survive and It's Raining Men (rather unsophisticated, I admit). That said (again!), I do not like identifying myself by my romantic status. There is much more to me than that. In fact, romance is a footnote in my life, not the theme.

92. For someone who professes to be utterly practical, bean-counting, I know a remarkable lot about editing, writing and reading with a discerning eye. Just one of those things that you can thank my ex-husband for. He was the writer.

93. I am NOT creative. I can take an idea and run with it, but I can't come up with the idea. I'm a doer, not a thinker.

94. I have huge motivational problems. Or, maybe, procrastination problems. I'm not sure which. Possibly both. Can I get back to you on that?

95. Garlic makes everything taste better.

96. I’m a sucker for a deep, male voice, all strong-independent-girl stuff to the contrary. If you have a deep voice (or, goddess help me, can sing) you could read the phone book to me and I would be helpless. For a moment or two, anyway.

97. If (and I say IF) I ate chocolate on a regular basis, it would be the Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bar. I remember liking it the best, when I ate chocolate.

98. I have some dental issues, and eating sweets hurts my teeth. Also, a family history of diabetes makes me wary.

99. While I thought this would be difficult, this has been remarkably easy. I shouldn’t be surprised. I love to talk about me. Just ask anybody I know.

100. My favourite nickname, other than "misstea?" It's "heartbreak harlot." I am disgustingly proud of that.